BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The WKU softball team gave #6/#7 Louisiana-Lafayette all they could handle Saturday at the WKU Softball Field, but came up short in both games of the doubleheader. The Ragin' Cajuns won game one 4-1 and game two 2-1 in a pitchers duel. Between games, seniors Laura Smith and Amanda Walden were honored on Senior Day.
WKU (28-22-1, 9-11-1 Sun Belt) got off to a good start in game one. Preslie Cruce led off the inning with a single up the middle. Kelsie Mattox then reached on a fielder's choice as Cruce was thrown out at second. With Mattox on at first base, Karavin Dew hit a one-hop single over the head of Louisiana-Lafayette's (43-2, 18-2) Natalie Fernandez at third base. The Ragin' Cajuns' starting pitcher Ashley Brignac then walked Amanda Thomas to load the bases. Smith was hit by the next Brignac pitch, bringing in Mattox to score and putting the Lady Toppers ahead 1-0. Brignac got out of the inning by striking out Shawna Sadler and Mallorie Sulaski.
Emily Rousseau held the Ragin' Cajuns to one hit through the first three innings. Louisiana-Lafayette attempted to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Matte Haack and Sarah Draheim hit back-to-back singles with one out in the inning. They were both left on base as Rousseau got both Brianna Cherry and Paige Cormier to fly out to Katrina Metoyer in centerfield to end the frame.
The Ragin' Cajuns got on the board in the top of the fifth. Fernandez singled up the middle with one out, then stole second base. Katie Smith grounded out to Cruce at third base, advancing Fernandez to third base. With two outs, Nerissa Myers hit a slow roller to Thomas at shortstop and beat the throw to first. Fernandez scored to tie the game 1-1. Christi Orgeron, the nation's leader in RBI coming into Saturday, then hit a two-run home run to right field to put the Ragin' Cajuns up 3-1.
Brignac shut down the Lady Toppers from there. WKU had one hit in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings but could not get a runner to third base in those innings. Louisiana-Lafayette tacked on one more run in the sixth on a Erikka Murphy RBI single to win game one 4-1. Mattox had two of the Lady Toppers' six hits in the opener, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Haack and Fernandez each had two hits for the Ragin' Cajuns. Brignac allowed six hits in her complete game win, striking out 10 batters. Rousseau struck out five Louisiana-Lafayette batters and allowed nine hits.
Sulaski started game two in the circle for WKU and was tested early. After striking out Katie Smith to open the game, Myers reached on an infield single. Orgeron then hit a liner that was caught by Sulaski, who threw to first to double up Myers and end the inning. The Ragin' Cajuns had the bases loaded in the top of the second, but Sulaski got out of the jam by getting Fernandez to hit into a fielder's choice. Fernandez hit a ground ball to Cruce at third who threw home to retire Haack.
Louisiana-Lafayette's Jordan Wallace was equally as impressive early, retiring the first eight batters she faced. With two out in the bottom of the third, Olivia Watkins drew a walk. Cruce then singled to Myers at shortstop, reaching second on a Myers' throwing error. The Lady Toppers had runners at second and third when Mattox popped out to end the inning. WKU came close to taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Dew led off the inning with a flyball to left field that Smith caught at the fence.
The Ragin' Cajuns looked to be able to get a run in the fifth, as Cormier and Murphy each reached on errors to lead off the inning. The runners advanced on a groundout by Fernandez. Smith then hit into a fielder's choice as Watkins threw home to retire Cormier. Sulaski got WKU out of the inning by getting Myers to hit into a fielder's choice to Thomas. Thomas threw to third to get Murphy for the third out.
Louisana-Lafayette broke the scoreless tie in the seventh. Cherry drew a walk leading off the inning. Cormier then hit a home run over the left centerfield fence to put the Ragin' Cajuns ahead 2-0. Murphy singled following Cormier's long ball, but Sulaski kept Louisiana-Lafayette off the scoreboard for the remainder of the inning. Fernandez and Smith both struck out and Myers was robbed of a hit as Cruce made a diving catch on a line drive to end the inning.
Down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Dew got WKU back in the game with a lead-off home run to left field to make the score 2-1. Thomas attempted to tie the game with her at-bat, but flew out to Katie Smith in left field. Laura Smith then grounded out to Cormier at second base. With two outs, Walden stepped up to the plate. Wallace got the senior to ground out to Myers at shortstop to end the game and give the Ragin' Cajuns the doubleheader sweep.
Sulaski struck out a season-high seven batters in seven innings in the nightcap, allowing just six hits and one walk. Wallace allowed just two hits in game two, striking out three to move her record to 22-0.
The Lady Toppers and Ragin' Cajuns will wrap up their weekend series with a 12 p.m. game on Sunday at the WKU Softball Field.