HONOLULU, Hawai'i-The Western Kentucky University softball team (7-4) used the long ball in its pair of games at the Bank of Hawai'i Invitational on Saturday afternoon to take a 8-1 win over Campbell (8-5) and 7-2 victory against Memphis (6-10) at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium.
In the two matchups, sophomore Preslie Cruce garnered four hits, three runs and three RBI. Junior Amanda Thomas went 3-for-6 with five RBI while senior Mallorie Sulaski and junior Kelsie Mattox tabbed two hits each. Freshman Brooke Holloway had breakout games as well, as she posted four RBI.
WKU 8, Campbell 1
WKU opened the day with an 8-1 win over Campbell, using 11 hits to cruise past the Fighting Camels.
Allowing five hits and no earned runs while striking out five, Sulaski (2-1) earned the win in her third complete game of the season.
The Lady Toppers took a fast 1-0 start, as junior Olivia Watkins opened the game with single up the middle. After swiping second as a stolen base, Watkins advanced to third on a Cruce sac bunt. The Florence, Ala., native then came home after Mattox reached on a fielder's choice.
WKU added another run in the top third with Cruce taking a 1-1 pitch out of the park. The solo shot marked her first of the year and ninth in her two-year career. Freshman Brooke Holloway followed Cruce's lead in the fourth inning, as Holloway put up a three-run bomb as her first career hit in the red and black to put WKU ahead 5-0.
Back-to-back doubles in the fifth extended the Lady Tops' advantage by one run. Thomas placed a double in left field prior to senior Katrina Metoyer's in center field, which allowed pinch runner Tiffany Gooch to score.
With Cruce on base from a hit by pitch and a Mattox single to right center, Thomas came to the plate for a two-RBI single to make the score 8-0 in WKU's favor.
Campbell would save the run-rule game in the sixth inning with a run on the board, but the Fighting Camels' nine left on base throughout the contest left them unable to overcome the deficit.
WKU 7, Memphis 2
The Lady Toppers needed one inning to overcome Memphis' lead, as WKU closed the day with a 7-2 win.
Sophomore Janna Scheff (2-1) started the game in the circle for WKU, giving up just three hits, two earned runs and two walks in four innings. Junior Emily Rousseau recorded the first save of her career, as she put in three innings to give up one hit and striking out one batter.
Memphis reached the scoreboard first in the opening inning, as a hit batter allowed the runner on. A sacrifice bunt and single followed to put up the run and early advantage for the Tigers.
In the top fourth, Memphis added on to its lead, as a single through the right side brought home the runner on third.
WKU quickly took over the lead in the fourth inning off of four hits and seven runs. Sulaski singled up the middle before advancing to third on a sophomore Jacqueline McGill double. Holloway then earned a RBI with a fielder's choice to second to bring Sulaski home. With the bases loaded and two outs, Cruce punched a hit through the left side to score Holloway and sophomore Shawna Sadler. In the same play, an error by the Tigers allowed Watkins to make it a 4-2 ballgame. Thomas then sent a ball to left center on a 3-2 count to add three more runs and seal the win at 7-2.WKU plays two more games on Sunday, March 3, as the tournament takes on a bracket format with teams taking a 1-4 seed with an opening contest against their opposing seed followed by a consolation game and a championship contest. Opponents and times can be found at WKUSports.com following the conclusion of the Hawai'i-Memphis game, which takes place at approximately 9 p.m. CT.