WKU softball crushes SIUE

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Trailing 2-0 to Southern Illinois Edwardsville heading to the bottom of the third inning, Western Kentucky struck for five runs to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish for the squad’s third come-from-behind victory of the season.

Seven different Hilltoppers registered hits in the 10-4 win as WKU climbed to 15-6 on the season.

The Cougars (8-5) struck first on a two-run home run in the top of the third inning before WKU got its offense rolling at the plate. Rebekah Engelhardt led off the inning with a double off the left field fence before Jordan Thomas followed with a double to trade spots and plate Engelhardt for the first Hilltopper run.

Five batters later with the bases loaded and two outs, Kendall Smith sent a single down the left line to score a pair for a 3-2 WKU advantage. Tommi Stowers kept the scoring going with a two-RBI double to the left-center gap for the 5-2 lead.

SIUE retaliated in the top of the fourth, plating its final two runs of the game to pull within 5-4 before WKU could tally an out. Shelby Nunn relieved Kelsey Aikey in the circle at that point and struck out three of the next four batters to get WKU back to the dugout with its lead still intact.

In the bottom of the fifth, Jordan Vorbrink sent her fourth double of the season to right-center field to lead off the frame before Paige Carter’s third home run of the year pushed WKU’s lead to 7-4.

Leading off an inning for the third time of the night, Engelhardt opened the bottom of the sixth with a double to right-center field before moving to third on a groundout. Maddie Bowlds reached on a fielder’s choice that held Engelhardt at third after a run-down.

Brittany Vaughn broke through for her first hit of the day in the form of a single through the right side, scoring both Hilltopper runners. Over the course of the next two batters, Vaughn stole her way around the diamond – including home – to account for WKU’s 10th run of the contest.

In need of three outs to secure the victory, Nunn headed back out to the circle and sent the SIUE batters back to the dugout in order including a looking strikeout for the final out. Nunn tossed the final four innings to secure her 10th win of the season moving to 10-4 overall.

The freshman allowed just one hit while striking out six and retiring the final 11 Cougar batters of the game.

The Hilltoppers open Conference USA play with a series at Southern Mississippi on Saturday and Sunday.