Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- WKU Softball saw three home runs leave the yard off the bats of Kendall Smith, Rebekah Engelhardt and Jordan Vorbrink as the Hilltoppers swept Saturday’s doubleheader of Charlotte. The Red and White claimed game one in a five-inning 11-2 decision before earning a 5-0 win in the second tilt.
“We had a good week of prep including our midweek win on the road,” head coach Amy Tudor said of the doubleheader win. “Everyone worked hard this week and today their efforts showed. I’m proud of our pitching staff, our defense and hitters. We were strong in all facets of the game and having our fans involved was great. Today we were focused and executed; I’m proud of this group.”
WKU improved to 21-5 overall and 5-0 in Conference USA with the wins and has now won six-straight games. Charlotte fell to 10-17 and 2-6 in league play with the losses. The 49ers have avoided a sweep in each of their first two C-USA series this season.
Kennedy Sullivan, Engelhardt and Maddie Bowlds each tallied three hits on the day. WKU finished with a combined 17 hits while allowing just eight by Charlotte. All but one of the Hilltoppers’ runs came off an RBI.
GAME 1: WKU 11, CHARLOTTE 2
Kennedy Sullivan set the tone for the Hilltoppers in the opening inning as the freshman struck out all three Charlotte batters. After two quick outs from the Red and White, WKU struck for six unearned runs and never looked back. The Hilltopper offense came off five hits, a walk and two 49er errors as 10 WKU batters made plate appearances.
WKU would add two more runs in the second, another tally in the third and a pair of scores in the fourth to account for their 11 runs. Charlotte broke through in the top of the third with a pair of runs but the closest the 49ers would ever be was 8-2.
Sullivan and Tommi Stowers struck for doubles in the win while Kendall Smith and Rebekah Engelhardt each added their sixth home run of the season. Engelhardt finished with two hits and three RBI while Sullivan added two hits and two RBI of her own. Smith also had a multi-RBI outing.
In the circle, Sullivan picked up the win to improve to 13-2 on the season. The freshman allowed just two runs across her 4.0 innings pitched while striking out five. Kelsey Aikey threw the game’s final frame and tallied a strikeout for the last out.
GAME 2: WKU 5, CHARLOTTE 0
Scoreless until a Jordan Vorbrink home run in the bottom of the second, WKU improved to 18-2 when scoring first. In the same frame, Taylor Davis reached on a base hit and proceeded to steal second. Maddie Bowlds connected for an RBI single to score Davis from second for a 2-0 WKU lead.
Shannon Plese led off the bottom of the third with a standing double but would get thrown out trying to steal third. The extra-base hit extended her on-base streak to 19-straight games.
Continuing in the third, Smith got on with her second of three walks on the day before Engelhardt sent a base hit through the left side. Next up, Sullivan sent a bases-clearing double to the right-center gap for a 4-0 WKU advantage. After a Vorbrink single moved Sullivan to third, Morgan McElroy followed with an RBI groundout to make the score 5-0.
As the Hilltoppers took the field for the top of the fourth, Kelsey Aikey continued her solid outing by striking out the Charlotte side. In her final inning of work, Aikey added two more of her seven strikeouts on the game. The junior earned the win in the circle to move to 5-3 in the circle after striking out seven and allowing just two hits in her 5.0 innings of work.
Shelby Nunn closed the game’s final 2.0 frames allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three. Nunn and Aikey combined for their third complete-game shutout of the season in the win.
Vorbrink added another multi-hit game for her fifth of the season. Maddie Bowlds finished with a pair of hits as well for her third multi-hit outing of the season. Sullivan finished with a pair of RBI for her fourth multi-RBI game of the season.
NEXT GAME: WKU Softball will look to sweep its second-straight Conference USA series on Sunday. First pitch of the series finale against Charlotte is slated for 1 p.m. CT, on Sunday.