BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University softball team opened up it's home slate in fine fashion Friday afternoon, scoring five runs in the fifth inning to take down Murray State 10-1 in the opening game of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Spring Classic at the WKU Softball Field. Freshman outfielder Shawna Sadler went 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI.
"It's always interesting when the team is going to class and then coming in for a game," said head coach Tyra Perry about Friday's home opener. "You never quite know what you're going to get. We try to get them to re-focus from the day and then come into the field and play softball. We started off a little slow, but we kicked it into gear and started playing some ball."
Murray State (2-1) got on the board in the top of the first as Alexa Becker hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Mo Ramsey. WKU (7-3) starting pitcher Emily Rousseau ended the threat by striking out Leslie Bridges. Sadler led off the Lady Toppers' half of the first with a single to right field, then advanced to second on an illegal pitch by the Racers' Shelby Kosmecki. After Kelsie Mattox struck out, Preslie Cruce and Amanda Thomas walked to load the bases. Katrina Metoyer followed the back-to-back walks with a two-RBI double down the right field line, putting WKU ahead 2-1. Mallorie Sulaski followed with a single to right field that scored Thomas to make the score 3-1, and also chased Kosmecki from the game. CheyAnne Gaskey came in to pitch for Murray State and got a strikeout to end the inning.
The Lady Toppers added a run in the bottom of the second as Olivia Watkins scored on a passed ball, making the score 4-1. Rousseau was locked in after allowing a run in the first inning. The sophomore hurler gave up only one hit while striking out four more batters in the next four innings. WKU struck again for a run in the fourth inning. With Watkins on second after a succesful steal with two outs, Sadler drove in the Lady Toppers' second baseman with a single up the middle to give WKU a 5-1 lead.
WKU put the game away in the fifth inning. Cruce was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Thomas then doubled to left center to give the Lady Toppers runners at second and third. Metoyer made the first out of the inning with a groundout to third base. After Sulaski struck out for the second out of the inning, Amanda Walden reached base on an error by Murray State's second baseman Christian Cox. Both runners scored on the play to make the score 7-1. Karavin Dew then singled and stole second. Watkins then hit a ball right at Cox, who bobbled it, allowing Watkins to reach first and Walden to score. Sadler then ended the game with a two-RBI triple to center field, scoring Dew and Watkins to make the score 10-1.
"Shawna's at her best when she's out there having fun," said Perry about her freshman outfielder. "Whenever she does too much, it slows her down. We've been working a lot with her in practice, but in a game we just let her flow and play."
Rousseau earned her third win of the season, allowing one hit in five innings while striking out five batters. Dew went 2-for-3 at the plate.
WKU continues play in the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Spring Classic Saturday with a doubleheader. The Lady Toppers take on Morehead State at 3 p.m. and Bowling Green State at 5 p.m.