BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The Western Kentucky University softball team won its two games Saturday in the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Spring Classic at the WKU Softball Field, defeating Morehead State 4-1 in eight innings before a 5-1 win over Bowling Green State.
The first game of the day for WKU (9-3) started as a pitcher's duel between the Lady Toppers' Kim Wagner and Morehead State's (1-5) Jami Whitcomb. Both starters allowed just one hit each in the first three innings. The Eagles cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning. Elizabeth Wagner reached base on an error to lead off the inning, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Amber Riddle. After Kayla Ashbrook grounded out, Kayla Brill singled to give Morehead State runners at first and third with two outs. Brill then stole second with Wagner scoring on the throw to second, putting the Eagles ahead 1-0.
The Lady Toppers tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth. Preslie Cruce led off the inning with a double to left center, then advanced to third on an illegal pitch. After a ground out, Katrina Metoyer hit a flyball to right field. The Eagles' Anna Sommer made the catch with Cruce tagging from third. Cruce slid headfirst into home and beat the throw on a bang-bang play to even up the game.
Neither team scored in the seventh, forcing extra innings. Morehead State had a chance to take the lead in the top of the eighth with a runner at third and one out, but Wagner forced a pair of groundouts to get out of the inning. WKU got its first two runners aboard in the bottom of the eighth. Amanda Thomas stepped up to the plate and hit a high fly ball over the left centerfield fence to walk-off with a 4-1 win for the Lady Toppers.
"I was just trying to see-ball, hit-ball," said Thomas on her game-winning home run. "I knew there was a runner at third, and there are so many ways to score a runner from third, so I was just trying to swing hard and get a hit to score that run."
Wagner allowed just five hits in the win for WKU, striking out four batters. Both Thomas and Cruce were 2-for-4 at the plate against Morehead State, scoring three of the Lady Toppers four runs.
The Lady Toppers got on the board first against Bowling Green (2-3) in the nightcap. With one out in the third, freshman Shawna Sadler hit her first career home run to center field to give WKU a 1-0 lead. Starting pitcher Emily Rousseau was on point from the start of the game, allowing just two hits in the first five innings while striking out four. WKU stretched its lead in the sixth inning. Kelsie Mattox popped out to start the inning. Cruce then was hit by a pitch. Thomas followed that with a double to left. Cruce ran for home but was thrown out, allowing Thomas to reach third base. With two out in the inning, Metoyer reached on an error by the Falcons' Hannah Fulk at shortstop. Thomas scored to make the score 2-0. Amanda Walden then doubled to center field, bringing Metoyer around to score. After Laura Smith reached on another Bowling Green error, Olivia Watkins hit a two-RBI double to the left field fence to put the Lady Toppers ahead 5-0. The Falcons could only muster one run in the seventh as Brittanie Albright got the final three outs for WKU against Bowling Green.
Watkins and Thomas each had two hits against Bowling Green. Rousseau moved to 4-2 on the season after pitching six innings, allowing two hits while striking out four.
"I thought Emily did a great job," said head coach Tyra Perry on Rousseau's performance. "She was in command yesterday and today, and she's slowly starting to reach her full potential."
WKU wraps up play in the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Spring Classic on Sunday with a 3 p.m. game against Indiana State.