BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-The Western Kentucky University softball team wrapped up a successful fall schedule last weekend, as the Lady Toppers took six wins out of the eight games played in late September through October at the WKU Softball Complex.
"The fall is all about putting our team in tough situations to make them stronger," WKU head coach Tyra Perry said. "I saw this team bond together and take huge steps in the right direction. They were up for every challenge. We will use the next few weeks of practice to continue building on our strengths and moving forward as a program."
"With our fall season coming to an end, I'm excited about what the spring has in store for us," said senior outfielder Katrina Metoyer. "We were able to see what our team has and what we need to work on, and I can only imagine we're going to come back stronger than ever this spring."
WKU opened the fall with a win over Lindsay Wilson. Sophomore infielder Preslie Cruce went 1-for-1 while notching a walk. Junior infielder Amanda Thomas also hit a home run. All three pitchers of junior Emily Rousseau, senior Mallorie Sulaski and freshman Kelsi Pardue took time in the circle, as they combined for six strikeouts and three hits.
The Lady Toppers then hosted the Topper Fall Classic I where WKU grabbed wins against Evansville and Eastern Kentucky while falling to 2012 Women's College World Series participant Tennessee. Against the Purple Aces, Thomas, junior outfielder Kelsie Mattox, senior utility player Ciara Garcia and sophomore infielder Sammi McGraw had two hits each while sophomore utility player Jacqueline McGill grabbed one. Thomas and McGill both had two RBI while Mattox, Thomas and McGraw had at least one double each. Pardue tallied six strikeouts in the contest. Cruce, junior infielder Olivia Watkins and freshman infielder Brooke Holloway all had one hit against Eastern Kentucky. Watkins added three walks, a triple and RBI while Holloway had a double and RBI. Rousseau gave up four hits while striking out eight. Against the Lady Vols, Mattox, Sulaski and senior outfielder Shelby Taylor tabbed two hits each. Mattox and Taylor also put up a two-base hit each. Rousseau and Sulaski shared time pitching, as the duo combined for four strikeouts and 10 hits.
The fall schedule wrapped up with the Topper Fall Classic II, as WKU tabbed victories over Columbus State, Tennessee State and Murray State while dropping a contest against Volunteer State. Opening with Columbus State, Cruce and Metoyer both went 2-for-4 at the plate while Metoyer had two home runs with four RBI. Pardue posted three hits while striking out eight batters. The Lady Toppers then took a win over TSU, as McGill went 2-for-3 and Garcia hit the game-winning double along with two RBI. Rousseau and Pardue totaled five hits and 14 strikeouts. Against Vol State, Cruce and Taylor were both perfect at the plate, as Cruce knocked two hits and Taylor added three with a double. WKU then closed the fall season with a win against Murray State. Cruce and Thomas each had two hits, including both hitting one over the fence. Watkins, one of the team's leaders in stolen bases last year, took two against the Racers. Sulaski and Rousseau combined for seven strikeouts, two hits, four walks and three runs, as Sulaski had two unearned runs.
"I think the fall was a really good start for our team this year," Rousseau said. "We have a lot of talent, and we are having fun playing. The games this fall were helpful in showing us what we need to work on, and we are committed to getting better and bringing home the championship in the spring."