BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Junior pitcher Kim Wagner struck out a career-high 11 batters Tuesday night as WKU defeated Tennessee Tech 1-0 at the WKU Softball Field. The Lady Toppers scored the lone run of the game in the fourth inning on an RBI fielder's choice by Mallorie Sulaski.
"I already have a great defense behind me so just the fact that I can do something to contribute to the team and give us more momentum, it gives me a boost," said Wagner on her performance Wednesday.
Tennessee Tech (9-12) had the first hit of the game, a double by Brooke Basten in the top of the first. Wagner, however, struck out the side. The Golden Eagles' Taylor Ketchum did her part to keep WKU (18-7) off the scoreboard early, allowing one baserunner on a walk in the first two innings. The Lady Toppers got their first hit of the game in the third inning. Karavin Dew led off the frame with a single. After a sacrifice bunt by Olivia Watkins moved Dew to second, Shawna Sadler hit a single to left center. Dew got to third base, but Sadler was thrown trying to stretch her hit into a double. Ketchum then got Kelsie Mattox to flyout to end the inning.
The Golden Eagles' threatened to score in the top of the fourth. Basten was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Holly Thomas then singled through the left side of the infield, giving the Golden Eagles' runners at first and second. Wagner struck out Chanelle Spalding for the first out, then got Brittney Spalding to ground out to Watkins at second. With runners at second and third with two outs, Wagner struck out Emma Woo looking to end the inning.
Preslie Cruce led off the bottom of the fourth with a double to left centerfield. Tennessee Tech then made a substitution in the circle, bringing in Claudia Harke to pitch. Harke walked Amanda Thomas and Katrina Metoyer to load the bases with no outs. Mallorie Sulaski then hit a blooper to centerfield, scoring Cruce. Tiffany Gooch, who pinch-ran for Thomas, was thrown out at third after holding up on the hit. Harke held the Lady Toppers to one run, getting Laura Smith to flyout and Dew to ground out.
Wagner made WKU's one run hold up, putting the Golden Eagles down in order in each of the last three innings. Four of her 11 strikeouts came in the sixth and seventh innings.
"She's done a very good job this season," said head coach Tyra Perry on Wagner. "She's definitely worked on her game to where all of her pitches are effective. She's done well in hitting her spots and finishing with two outs."
Each team was held to three hits in the ballgame. WKU had only one batter strikeout in the game and left four runners on base. Tennessee Tech left six runners on base. With the win, Wagner moves to 9-2 on the season with her third shutout of 2012.
The Lady Toppers are back in action Wednesday afternoon, hosting the #14 Louisville Cardinals at 4 p.m. at the WKU Softball Field. Louisville enters tomorrow's game 20-0.