Senior pitchers use experience ahead of season finale


Left: Caitlin Bingham throws a pitch during WSU’s game against Tulsa on April 1 at Wilkins Stadium. (Photo by Baswanth Naidu / The Sunflower) Right: Erin McDonald throws a pitch during WSU’s game against Memphis on April 23 at Wilkins Stadium. (Photo by Mia Hennen / The Sunflower)

Fifth year seniors Erin McDonald and Cailtlin Bingham have been a part of the same pitching staff for the last several seasons. They hold memories of conference championships together and pitching against some of the nation’s best hitters in college softball. 

Prior to the start of the 2022 season, Bingham had confidence in her and McDonald’s experience to lead a staff with three incoming freshman pitchers. 

“I think this being my fifth year like I have. Me and Erin we have the experience in the circle that is needed to be a good pitcher in our conference and nationally,” Bingham said. 

Freshman pitcher Alison Cooper credited McDonald and Bingham’s senior leadership as a part of her success in the circle this season. Cooper has been named to the AAC weekly honor roll twice this season. 

 “It’s nice to have them to get advice and then even learn from them and what they do and how they act in certain situations and how they handle certain situations,” Cooper said. 

Both Bingham and McDonald have produced one of their best seasons so far statistically while at WSU. McDonald has an 8-7 win-loss record, while Bingham is 12-3. 

Bingham credits her final year at WSU as the strongest pitching staff she has ever been a part of. 

 “We pitch as a staff,” Bingham said. “We can throw something different at you every inning if we wanted to. We can throw somebody different everyday and to kind of keep other teams off balance is a huge deal for us.” 

However, before they move on and graduate, both seniors have a few more things they want to accomplish with WSU softball. 

McDonald said one of the toughest matchups of her college softball career will come in a series this weekend with conference rival UCF. The Shockers have an opportunity to claim the regular season conference title for the second time since joining the AAC. 

“They’re (UCF) scrappy as it is,” McDonald said. “Like I said they are going to get on base and find ways to score runs, they’ll bunt with the bases loaded. They’ll do whatever they need to do but I feel like we are better we can do it.” 

Bingham said a competitive conference series at home with UCF is what you dream for during your final year of college softball. 

“I mean you come to college and the last series are the two best teams in the conference and going at each other,” Bingham said. “You know that from the beginning when the schedule comes out so you know that you’ve prepared the full season for this. You know this is going to be a dog fight.”

The Shockers were successful in the circle last season against UCF last season during the regular season and conference tournament play. McDonald said they’ll have to be a little more strategic this time around. 

“Just as a pitcher you want to make sure you are getting good ground balls but obviously minimizing like walks, hit by pitches, keeping the ball of the bases as much as possible so it gives them less of a chance to steal or advance or score runs,” McDonald said.