RICHMOND, Ky. — The WKU softball team left 11 runners on base Thursday in a 5-3 loss to Eastern Kentucky at Gertrude Hood Field. The Lady Toppers led 3-0 before the Colonels scored all five of their runs in the bottom of the third inning. Junior catcher Karavin Dew led WKU with two hits on the game.
WKU (19-12) got on the board first in the top of the second inning. With two out, Mallorie Sulaski drew a walk. Laura Smith followed by being hit by a pitch from the Eastern Kentucky (11-13) starting pitcher Kristin Perry. With two on and two out, Shawna Sadler knocked a base hit through the right side, bringing in both runners to put the Lady Toppers ahead 2-0. Olivia Watkins was hit by a pitch, then Dew singled to left field to load the bases. Perry got the Colonels out of the inning by getting Kelsie Mattox to popout to shortstop Lauren Mitchell.
Eastern Kentucky attempted to get on the board in the bottom of the second as Shannon McQueen led off the inning with a walk off of WKU starter Emily Rousseau. Rousseau struck out Christina Ciolek for the first out of the inning, but allowed a single to Larkyn Wood to give the Colonels runners at first and second. She would get the Lady Toppers out of the inning with no runs allowed, getting a groundout and a strikeout to finish the frame.
WKU added another run in the top of third. Preslie Cruce singled to start the inning and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Thomas. After Metoyer popped out for the second out, Sulaski ripped a single to right centerfield that scored Cruce and put the Lady Toppers ahead 3-0.
The Colonels quickly tied the game in the bottom of the third. Diane Gallagher reached first base on an error leading off the inning. Carissa Reisinger then a single over the head of Cruce at third base, putting runners at first and second. Raquel Howes cleared the bases with a three-run home run over the left centerfield fence, tying the game 3-3. Rousseau then retired Katie Tackett and McQueen for the first two outs of the inning. Ciolek then reached on an error with two outs. With new life in the inning, Larkyn Wood hit a home run over the left field fence to put Eastern Kentucky ahead 5-3.
The Lady Toppers had a chance to tie the game in the top of the fourth. With two out, Dew singled and got to second on a throwing error. Mattox followed with a bunt single, reaching second as the first baseman Hackett just held the ball. With Dew at third and Mattox at second, Cruce was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Thomas stepped in with two outs, and after a lengthy at-bat, popped out to end the inning and the WKU threat. WKU had another chance to score in the top of the fifth. With two on and one out, Sadler flew out to the leftfielder Gallagher. Gallagher then threw to second to get Sulaski out who attempted to get back to the bag.
Rousseau did her part to keep Eastern Kentucky to five runs. The sophomore pitcher retired 10 of the last 11 batters she faced in the game, recording seven strikeouts in six innings pitched. Her counterpart, Perry, was equally as effective. Perry did not allow a WKU hit in the last four innings to earn the win.
The Lady Toppers' and Colonels each had six hits in the game. Wood went 2-for-3 at the plate for Eastern Kentucky, with her two-run homer proving to be the difference in the game.
WKU returns to action on Tuesday, March 27 with a doubleheader at Samford. Game one is scheduled for 5 p.m. with the nightcap at 7 p.m.