Tops Clinch Share of C-USA East Division Championship with 3-0 Win – WKU Athletics

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – WKU Softball recognized its four departing seniors prior to Saturday’s 3-0 win over Middle Tennessee, which clinched the Hilltoppers at least a share of the Conference USA East Division title. Katie Gardner tossed a complete-game shutout while six different Hilltoppers recorded a hit in the win.

 

“Great team win today,” opened WKU head coach Amy Tudor. “We were focused and dialed into every inning and loved the support from our crowd. A win today was a great way to honor our seniors who have done so much for our program.”

 

With the win, the Hilltoppers climbed to 34-11 on the 2022 campaign including a 16-7 mark in Conference USA play. Middle Tennessee moved to 19-33 overall and 6-17 in league games with the loss.

 

Thanks to other results around the league, WKU Softball will claim at least a share of the East Division title while a win on Sunday would make the Tops outright division champions.

 

The Hilltoppers continue to add to the most wins at home in a single season, climbing to 22 with Saturday’s victory. WKU is now 22-2 playing at the WKU Softball Complex this season.

 

Prior to the game, Maddie Bowlds, Bailey Curry, Shelby Nunn and Jordan Ridge were recognized on the field with their families and teammates.

 

On the field, both sides delivered scoreless innings through the first four frames. The Hilltopper defense recorded another zero in the top of the fifth before the offense broke through for a 1-0 lead. Abby Newman had led off the inning with a single before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from TJ Webster. A single and advancement on the throw by Taylor Davis put two Hilltoppers in scoring position before Taylor Sanders sent a shot at the MTSU third baseman that would result in an error and allow Newman to score.

 

Curry led off the bottom of the sixth with a double before Kasia Parks took over on the base paths for her. From there, Randi Drinnon dropped a sacrifice bunt to advance Parks to third. Next, Ridge stepped into the box and sent a triple down the rightfield line to make the score 2-0. Still not done, Newman drew a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Webster. Back to the top of the order, Brylee Hage singled to plate Ridge for a 3-0 advantage before Newman was tagged out at the plate.

 

Heading back to the field, Gardner needed just four pitches to induce three flyouts to the outfield and secure the 3-0 victory. The junior out of Bowling Green improved her record in the circle to 10-4 with her first complete-game shutout of the season. Gardner struck out three while allowing just five hits and one walk.

 

Hage and Ridge recorded RBI in the win. Bowlds and Curry added doubles to go along with Ridge’s triple.

 

TOP STORYLINES

  • WKU leads the all-time series against Middle Tennessee 45-31 including a 24-15 mark at home.
  • Coach Tudor is in her 18th season as a head coach – ninth on The Hill – and owns a 486-373-2 career coaching record, which includes a 268-169-1 mark at WKU.
  • Jordan Ridge connected for her first triple of the season and second of her career.
  • WKU claimed at least of share of the C-USA East Division championship with Saturday’s win. The Hilltoppers have clinched division championships in 2015 (and regular season), 2019 and 2022 now.

 

How to Follow Hilltopper Softball: For complete information on WKU Softball, follow the team on Twitter at @WKUSoftball, Instagram @WKU_Softball and Facebook /WKUSoftball.

 

Players Mentioned

Maddie Bowlds

#28 Maddie Bowlds

IF
5′ 9″
Fifth Year

Taylor Davis

#6 Taylor Davis

OF
5′ 7″
Senior

Katie Gardner

#5 Katie Gardner

P
5′ 10″
Junior

Brylee Hage

#11 Brylee Hage

OF
5′ 3″
Junior

Shelby Nunn

#10 Shelby Nunn

P
5′ 10″
Fifth Year

Jordan Ridge

#9 Jordan Ridge

UTL
5′ 3″
Senior

Taylor Sanders

#15 Taylor Sanders

IF
5′ 6″
Junior

TJ Webster

#3 TJ Webster

IF
5′ 4″
Junior

Bailey Curry

#44 Bailey Curry

UTL/C
5′ 7″
Fifth Year

Randi Drinnon

#7 Randi Drinnon

C/IF
5′ 5″
Freshman

Players Mentioned

Maddie Bowlds

#28 Maddie Bowlds

5′ 9″
Fifth Year
IF

Taylor Davis

#6 Taylor Davis

5′ 7″
Senior
OF

Katie Gardner

#5 Katie Gardner

5′ 10″
Junior
P

Brylee Hage

#11 Brylee Hage

5′ 3″
Junior
OF

Shelby Nunn

#10 Shelby Nunn

5′ 10″
Fifth Year
P

Jordan Ridge

#9 Jordan Ridge

5′ 3″
Senior
UTL

Taylor Sanders

#15 Taylor Sanders

5′ 6″
Junior
IF

TJ Webster

#3 TJ Webster

5′ 4″
Junior
IF

Bailey Curry

#44 Bailey Curry

5′ 7″
Fifth Year
UTL/C

Randi Drinnon

#7 Randi Drinnon

5′ 5″
Freshman
C/IF