Hilltopper Softball Hits 30-Win Milestone
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The West Liberty University softball team hit the 30-win plateau for only the fourth time in program history here Sunday afternoon.
Coach Herb Minch's Hilltoppers (30-14) closed out the regular season by splitting a non-conference doubleheader with Shepherd (25-10) in a meeting of Atlantic Region powers at the WLU Softball Complex. After dropping a 2-0 decision in the opener, West Liberty rebounded with a convincing 7-1 win in the finale to reach that 30-win milestone.
In the second game, Kat Donzella got it started with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first. Katie Beeman drove a two-run home run over the left field fence two batters later but WLU wasn't finished. Winning pitcher Annie Paterson followed with a single, moved up on a Connor Assif sacrifice and scored on Riley Conkle's clutch two-out single.
Donzella doubled to put runners at second and third in the top of the second and Sidney Little followed with an RBI bunt single for a 4-0 Hilltopper lead. Beeman brought Donzella home on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0 and WLU was on its way.
Paterson held Shepherd to one run over the first six innings to get the win. Riley Bennington finished the game, striking out the side in the top of the seventh. Donzella capped a huge game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth.
In the opener, the Rams' Ashley Burger launched a two-out, two-run double off the left field fence in the top of the sixth to snap a scoreless tie and account for the only runs of the game.
Katie Laing went the distance for Shepherd in the circle to post her third shutout of the season. Laing had only one strikeout but limited the Hilltoppers to five singles and didn't allow a runner past second base.
As the MEC’s North Division champion, West Liberty will open defense of its 2019 MEC Tournament title on Friday when it takes on the No. 4 seed from the MEC South Division in a 2:30 p.m. game at the Moyer Softball Complex in Salem, Va.
Shepherd 2, West Liberty 0
Shepherd 000 002 0 – 2 4 2
West Liberty 000 000 0 – 0 5 0
SU: Laing wp (1SO, 1W) and Mantz. Burger D, S, 2rbi; Brown D, S;
WLU: Amend (8SO, 0W), Bonnett lp (6) (2SO, 1W) and Donzella.
West Liberty 7, Shepherd 1
Shepherd 100 000 0 – 1 9 0
West Liberty 320 002 0 – 7 10 0
SU: Van Pelt lp (0SO, 1W), Lamper (2) (5SO, 2W), Ruffner (6) (2SO, 1W) and Mantz. Burger D, 2S; Purtell 2D
WLU: Paterson wp (6SO, 0W), Bennington (7) (3SO, 0W) and Donzella. Donzella HR, 2D, 2rbi; Beeman HR, S, 3rbi; Conkle S, rbi; Little S, rbi