WKU Softball loses to MTSU, 7-1, falling out of the C-USA Tournament
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - The WKU Hilltoppers were ousted in the 2023 Conference USA Tournament, 7-1, by Middle Tennessee in Thursday evening’s elimination game in the quarterfinals.
With a 9:35 p.m. first pitch, the Tops gathered for only two hits off the bats, while Katie Gardner and Kelsie Houchens rallied together in the circle for seven strikeouts in a ballgame that ended just after midnight.
At the plate, only Faith Hegh and Kelsey Schmidt pulled together for singles against MTSU’s Gretchen Mead.
After a stellar double play that consisted of Katie Gardner striking out the league’s batting average leader at the plate and catcher Randi Drinnon throwing down to second to catch a runner stealing, the Blue Raiders struck the board first with a two-run home run over the left-center field wall for a 2-0 lead after the opening frame. Middle continued with a big five-run second inning that picked up an advancing on a wild pitch, two RBI doubles, and an RBI single for a hefty start to the game.
The lone run for the Hilltoppers was a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch off the forearm of Taylor Davis, sending Kelsey Schmidt across home plate for the final 7-1 game in the second inning. Giving up no more runs in the rest of the contest, redshirt-sophomore Kelsie Houchens came in for relief in the middle of the second, pitching a stellar back half of the ballgame with five strikeouts and a walk.
Wrapping her senior season, Katie Gardner was credited with the loss and closes 2023 at 15-16 as she lead C-USA in strikeouts this year. She went 2.1 innings, giving up six runs off of four hits, retiring two at the plate. Houchens carried the rest of the work in the circle, giving up one run and six hits to the Middle Tennessee offense.
Capping a 30-24 record this year, the Hilltoppers graduate two fifth-year seniors, Taylor Davis and Faith Hegh, who played their last year of eligibility in the Red and White jersey.
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