BOWLING GREEN, Ky.- Posting 17 hits in two games, the Western Kentucky University softball team (4-3) opened day two of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic with a close 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh (4-4) before edging out Western Michigan (2-7) with a 5-2 victory at Buchanon Park on Saturday.
Over the pair of games, junior Olivia Watkins hit .714 with five hits and two runs. Junior Amanda Thomas and sophomore Jacqueline McGill went .500 while tabbing four and two RBI, respectively.
Pittsburgh 6, WKU 4
An offensive spark to stay alive in the bottom of the seventh inning wouldn't be enough for WKU, as the team fell 6-4 to Pittsburgh in the Lady Topper's first game of the day.
Watkins went a career-high 4-for-4 against Pitt's Savannah King (2-2), helping WKU to 10 total hits. Watkins along with sophomore Preslie Cruce each notched a triple in the game.
Senior Mallorie Sulaski (1-1) went the distance and allowed eight hits with five strikeouts and four walks.
Watkins was the first runner of the contest across home plate after she reached base on a double down the right field line in the bottom first. Advancing to third on a groundout, Thomas singled to center to gain the first advantage.
Pitt answered in the next half inning with a run to tie the game before a two-RBI single in the top third gave the Panthers a 3-1 advantage.
Senior Katrina Metoyer went to work in the home half of the fourth, as a single put her on base, groundout moved her to second and then stole third. Senior Ciara Garcia then put down a single to cut the Panthers' lead to one.
Insurance runs came for Pitt in the top seventh with three runs on three hits. Down to its last three outs, WKU rallied to add two more runs from a Thomas single with one out. However, a double play would end the run and the ballgame.
WKU 5, Western Michigan 2
Behind another solid pitching performance from junior Emily Rousseau and seven hits from WKU's offensive bats, the Lady Toppers ended the night with a 5-2 win over Western Michigan.
After throwing a career high in strikeouts on Friday, Rousseau (3-1) turned around to strike out nine Broncos while allowing five hits and no walks.
McGill tallied two hits and two RBI in the win while five other Lady Toppers recorded a hit each. Cruce was hit by pitch once in the game, which made her the all-time leader in hit by pitch in just her second year on the Hill with 26.
WKU went on the board first in the second inning after a Thomas triple allowed her to score on a McGill single to second base. However, Western Michigan put up two runs in the fourth to take the 2-1 advantage.
Immediately in the fifth, WKU regained the lead at 3-2. A pinch runner for senior Shelby Taylor, freshman Brooke Holloway worked her way around the bases before touching the final base on a Mattox single to center. With the bases loaded, Thomas walked to bring in Cruce for the inning's final run.
An additional two runs came in the top seventh for WKU, as a bases-loaded walk scored pinch runner Tiffany Gooch and a RBI from Taylor brought home Thomas.The final day of the Hilltopper Classic begins Sunday at 9 a.m. with the game between South Dakota State and Valparaiso resuming to finish the extra-inning battle. The day's regular schedule begins at 9:30 a.m. while WKU plays at 2:30 p.m. against Dayton. Games are played at Bowling Green's Buchanon Park while tickets are $5 for the day.