Tops win 3-2 over Eastern Kentucky in 13 innings
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Kicking off the first midweek of the 2023 season for the Hilltoppers, WKU defeated Eastern Kentucky Wednesday night in Richmond as Katie Gardner got her 12th start of the season and enjoyed a stellar night from the circle with ten strikeouts, six hits, one earned run and two walks. Freshman Maddy Wood garnered her second win of the season with a four-inning closing and only accumulated one hit, with three strikeouts and a walk.
Picking up her eighth and ninth RBIs on the year, Randi Drinnon drives two in for her first RBIs in seven games, on top of two hits. Six other Hilltoppers collected hits during the evening match up to total the Hilltoppers’ 13 – just short of the season-high 14 collective hits.
WKU 3, EKU 2
Kicking off the top frame East of Bowling Green, Randi Drinnon pulls in an RBI-single into left field on a 2-2 count, to score Taylor Davis and break a 1-0 lead for the Red and White.
After quiet midgame for both teams on the bats, Eastern Kentucky earns a shot on the board after the Colonels leadoff hitter makes her way to second base after a WKU error, and the follow up was an RBI single through the left side to tie the ballgame and head to extras.
In the top of the eighth, the Hilltoppers pulled through two hits and a sacrifice bunt from Drinnon to move runners in scoring position, but unable to complete in the frame as Gardner wrapped up the bottom half with retiring the first three up.
Stellar defense from the Tops created nothing from EKU in the ninth inning. Kennedy Foote came back in redemption from her sixth inning error to drive out a double play to start the outing. A line out right to her in the four-spot plus the throw to first base to catch the Colonel runner, gave the Hilltoppers the defensive advantage. The play of the game went to left fielder Taylor Davis and her strong throw to the plate as the runner on second base went for home – not soon enough as catcher Randi Drinnon tagged her a footstep in front.
WKU gains one back on a Jessica Bush sacrifice fly on the left field line, scoring Taylor Davis who made her way on bag with a single to leadoff. The Colonels tied up the game again with a solo home run into right field from their inning leadoff, Jasmine Miller. Wood later came in for relief in the inning to complete the game.
A quiet 11th inning was only interrupted while the Hilltoppers were playing defense, as Kennedy Foote made an identical turn-two double play with the line out and throw at first to catch the runner. After no action on the bats, Wood would retire three straight in the bottom of the 12th.
The Hilltoppers batted through the order for a sixth time, as leadoff hitter Brylee Hage came to the plate for her seventh at-bat of the evening – good for a single down the left field line in the top of the 13th. Taylor Sanders would move her to third base after a double into left field left WKU in a good place with go-ahead runners in scoring position and only one out. Cleanup hitter Faith Hegh would be walked just before Drinnon would come in for the final RBI of the ballgame: grounding out to third base as the throw went to first for her retirement. Hage would cross the plate before the bottom half of the frame started. Wood retired all three in the bottom for WKU’s 3-2 extra-inning victory.
The 13-inning contest would go down near the program record, 14 innings against No. 16 Georgia in 2015. The NCAA Regional match up was 14 innings pitched solely by All-American Miranda Kramer and resulted in a 2-1 Hilltopper win after a 14th inning RBI-double by Carleigh Chaumont.
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