BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The WKU softball team split its doubleheader against the Lipscomb Lady Bisons Wednesday night at the WKU Softball Field. The Lady Toppers won game one 6-2 on the strength of home runs by Kelsie Mattox and Preslie Cruce. Lipscomb took the nightcap 5-4, holding off a WKU seventh-inning rally.
The opener started out as a pitchers' duel between WKU's (28-20-1) Emily Rousseau and Lipscomb's (31-17) Whitney Kiihnl. Both pitchers allowed just one hit through the first two innings. The Lady Toppers put a rally together in the bottom of the third to get on the scoreboard. Katrina Metoyer led off the inning with a double. After back-to-back strikeouts, Mattox doubled to right field to score Metoyer and put WKU up 1-0.
Lipscomb put the lead-off batter on base for the first time in the fourth inning as Gracey Aguirre hit a single. Kelsey Cartwright then hit into a fielder's choice with Rousseau throwinng Aguirre out at second base. Rousseau then got Mollie Mitchell to hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
The Lady Toppers extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Mallorie Sulaski led off the inning with a bunt single. After Mattox was hit by a pitch, Karavin Dew put down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Amanda Thomas then hit a single up the middle to bring in Sulaski and make the score 2-0. WKU then utilized the running game. Thomas stole second, and as Mitchell threw down to second Mattox came home and scored the Lady Toppers' third run. Kiihnl struck out Laura Smith for the second out of the inning. With Thomas still at second, Cruce hit her seventh home run of the season over the centerfield fence to make the score 5-0.
The Lady Bisons got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth on a Mitchell RBI double, putting the score at 5-1. Mattox put WKU back up by five with her 13th home run of the season in the bottom half of the inning. Her solo home run put the Lady Toppers ahead 6-1, and also moved Mattox past Jessie Richardson for the third-most home runs in a single season in WKU history. Lipscomb tacked on only one run in the top of the seventh as WKU won game one 6-2. Rousseau won her 13th game of the season, allowing six hits with four strikeouts in seven innings. Mattox, Thomas, and Metoyer each went 2-for-3 at the plate.
The Lady Toppers threatened to take an early lead in game two. With one out, Mattox hit a single deep in the hole at second base. Dew followed with a single to left center, reaching second on the throw from the outfield as Mattox got to third. Lipscomb's starting pitcher Ashley Anderson stopped the threat right there, striking out Thomas and Metoyer to get out of the innning.
WKU's Brittanie Albright got off to a good start in the circle in the nightcap. The sophomore allowed just one base runner in the first two innings. With one out in the top of the third, Albright walked Bridgette Begle. Begle would reach second on a wild pitch and get to third on a groundout by Kiihnl. Aguirre then stepped up to the plate with two outs and singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Begle to give Lipscomb a 1-0 lead. Cartwright then hit a first-pitch home run to center field, putting the Lady Bisons ahead 3-0. Kim Wagner then entered the game for WKU in relief of Albright. Wagner got Mitchell to ground out to end the inning.
The Lady Toppers got one run back in the bottom of the third. Cruce led off the inning with a single down the left field line. Mattox then doubled to right centerfield, scoring Cruce to make the score 3-1. She reached third on an errant throw by Caroline Mason . With a runner on third and no outs, Dew stepped up to the plate and hit a grounder to Rena' Cothron at third base. Cothron threw to first to retire Dew with Mattox breaking for home. Haley Elliott threw home and got Mattox for a double play. Thomas then popped out to end the inning.
Lipscomb added two runs in the sixth inning. Aguirre led off with a single and was pinch-ran for by Brianne Welch. Welch stole second and reached third base on a Cartwright base hit. The Lady Bisons then executed a double steal, with Welch scoring and Cartwright getting to second base. Mitchell popped out for the first out of the inning. Mason then hit a long fly ball to Smith in right field, deep enough to advance Cartwright to third with two outs. Cartwright would score on a wild pitch, making the score 5-1.
The Lady Toppers scored one run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI groundout by Thomas, making the score 5-2. Lipscomb looked to have the nightcap in hand in the bottom of the seventh as Anderson retired the first two batters. With two outs, Sulaski singled to keep the inning alive. Taylor Borders then hit a pinch-hit single to centerfield. Cruce cleared the bases with a two-run double to left center, putting the score at 5-4. Mattox then stepped into the batter's box with the tying run at second base. On a 1-2 count, Anderson struck out Mattox swinging to give Lipscomb the split of the doubleheader.
Mattox went 3-for-4 in game two with an RBI. Cruce was 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot with two RBI. Sulaski also had two hits. Aguirre and Cartwright each had two hits and combined for three RBI. Anderson scattered 12 hits in the complete game win, striking out five with no walks.
WKU hosts its final home Sun Belt series of the season this weekend, taking on the #6/#7 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, April 28 beginning at 1 p.m. at the WKU Softball Game. Between games, WKU Athletics will honor seniors Laura Smith and Amanda Walden for Senior Day. The two teams will play a single game on Sunday, April 29 at 12 p.m.