GULF SHORES, Ala. (WBKO) --- WKU Softball took a quick 7-0 lead after its first trip to the plate on Sunday and never looked back as the squad claimed a 7-3 victory over South Alabama. The Hilltoppers finished 4-1 on the weekend to match the program’s best start since the 2015 campaign.
“We started and finished the tournament producing a lot of runs,” head coach Amy Tudor shared. “While we need to get more consistency throughout our offense, I am proud of how we scored when needed this weekend. Our circle was very strong almost all tournament delivering a lot of swing and misses.”
Sunday action opened from the Gulf Shores Sportsplex with WKU sending 11 batters to the plate in the first frame. In her first plate appearance of the inning, Jordan Thomas led off by roping a double to the fence in the right-center gap. In her second trip to the box, Thomas connected for a single to score a pair of Hilltopper runs. Shannon Plese, Jordan Ridge, Morgan McElroy and Taylor Davis all registered RBI in the inning. Thomas (2), Jordan Vorbrink, Plese and McElroy accounted for the Hilltoppers’ five hits in the frame.
From there, Kennedy Sullivan took the circle and after a leadoff walk the freshman sat down four-straight Jaguar batters with strikeouts before her no-hit bid ended with a shallow single just past the infield dirt. Sullivan ended up work 6.0 innings for her third win of the weekend while finishing with nine strikeouts to bring her tournament totals to 29. She allowed just four hits in the showing and finished with five called punchouts.
Kelsey Aikey closed out the game with her second relief appearance of the weekend and took care of business with 16 pitches including a pair of swinging strikeouts. With the appearance, Aikey took over as the owner of WKU’s career relief appearances record with 40. The junior closed the weekend with 10.2-consecutive scoreless innings of work and will look to build upon it next weekend.
“Sullivan and Aikey had impressive performances and both worked well together,” Tudor continued. “Aikey has that closure mentality and was focused and ready to go when called upon while Sullivan led the staff with the most strikeouts.”
WKU’s victory snapped a five-game losing streak to South Alabama. The Red and White are now 12-15 all-time against the Jaguars.
“We learned a lot this weekend and have areas to build on and several areas to improve as we move on to Western Illinois,” Tudor closed.