WLU Softball Takes Over MEC North Division Lead
Surging Hilltoppers sweep Frostburg State; have won 18 of last 20
FROSTBURG, Md. – The surging West Liberty University softball team took over sole possession of first place in the Mountain East Conference North Division here Monday with a doubleheader sweep of Frostburg State.
Coach Herb Minch's defending MEC champion Hilltoppers (27-11, 21-7) cruised to a 3-0 win in the first game before storming from behind to hand the Bobcats (21-10, 19-7) a 7-3 loss in the finale. The Black and Gold have now won 18 of their last 20 outings.
In the opener, Kat Donzella singled, doubled and homered to lead the West Liberty attack while Makenzie Amend and Riley Bennington combined for 12 strikeouts in the circle as the Hilltoppers prevailed.
Donzella led off the game with a single and eventually scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Annie Paterson. Donzella added a solo home run in the fourth and West Liberty scratched out another run in the fifth to provide more than enough offensive support for Amend and Bennington.
Amend worked the first five innings for the win, striking out eight while not walking a batter and allowing just two hits. The Bobcats scored their lone run and brought the tying run to the plate with two out in the bottom of the seventh but Bennington ended it with her fourth strikeout of the game.
Frostburg State carried a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning of the second game but it was all Hilltoppers the rest of the way. West Liberty got one run back in the fourth with an RBI single by Allie Cook cutting the lead to 3-2 before taking complete command with a four-run uprising in the top of the fourth. The visitors tacked on an insurance tally in the sixth to conclude the scoring.
Every West Liberty starter had at least one hit with Donzella once more setting the pace by lacing out a double and two more singles. Winning pitcher Taylor Bonnett helped her own cause with a solo home run and a single with Sidney Little adding a triple and an RBI. Katie Beeman and Laral Saunders also had run-scoring hits.
Bonnett got the win with a masterful relief performance, coming on with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third and getting out of the jam with an inning-ending double play. She then blanked the Bobcats on two hits the rest of the way, striking out five and walking one.
The first-place Hilltoppers return home on Tuesday to host regionally-ranked Charleston in a 3 p.m. doubleheader at the WLU Softball Complex.
West Liberty 3, Frostburg State 1
West Liberty 100 110 0 – 3 6 1
Frostburg State 000 000 1 – 0 4 1
WLU: Amend wp (8SO, 0W), Bennington (6) (4SO, 0W) and Donzella. Donzella HR, D, S, rbi; Paterson S, rbi
FSU: Leonard lp (6SO, 3W) and Batchelor. Carver D; Ramey D; Powell D; Batchelor S, rbi
West Liberty 7, Frostburg State 3
West Liberty 001 141 0 – 7 13 2
Frostburg State 102 000 0 – 3 7 1
WLU: Paterson (1SO, 1W), Bonnett wp (3) (5SO, 1W) and Donzella. Donzella D, 2S; Bonnett HR, S, rbi; Little T, rbi; Cook S, rbi; Beeman S, rbi; Saunders S, rbi
FSU: Theobald lp (3SO, 2W), Talbert (6) (1SO, 0W) and Ernst. Carver D, S, rbi; Treff 2S; Ramey S, 2rbi