North Texas defeats WKU in conference series

Hunter Frint

The Lady Topper softball team (11-15) dropped its series against North Texas this weekend with one win from the first game but two losses split between Friday and Saturday.

“Communicating, having a presence on the mound and just figuring out the little things in between” are the things Head Coach Amy Tudor said the team would be working on. “The little things add up to big things.”

The first game of the series began on Friday at 3 p.m. Junior pitcher Kathryn Downing got the start in the contest as the Lady Toppers grabbed the first two runs of the game after two complete innings.

North Texas caught up rather quickly after its turn to bat in the third and tied the score at an even 2-2. Freshman utility player Bryce Holmgren came up to bat and added her 10th RBI of the season, upping the score 3-2 for WKU’s lead.

This score held until the seventh inning, when a WKU error allowed the Mean Green to tie the score once again.

The game then went into WKU’s first extra inning of the year. The winning runs were scored thanks to senior infielder Brooke Holloway, who helped add three more runs to the team’s score. The final score was 6-3.

Tudor commented on Holloway’s performance this weekend and said she really stood out and had a good series overall defensively and offensively.

The Lady Toppers then headed into the second game of the series beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday.

North Texas started off the game with one run scored. At the bottom of the first, WKU came back and tied the score when sophomore infielder Carleigh Chaumont made it home off freshman outfielder Kelsey McGuffin’s fly ball.

North Texas was determined to stay ahead and notched three more runs in the top of the second. The Mean Green scored three runs on four hits.

Sophomore outfielder Lexie Norfleet started off the bottom of the third for WKU as it tried to catch up with North Texas. Norfleet hit a pop-up that was caught by North Texas catcher Cassidy Webb.

The Mean Green made another out in the next play, and then junior catcher Taylor Proctor was up to bat. After her hit was caught, it was three up, three down for the Lady Toppers in the bottom of the second.

WKU stepped up its offense in the top of the third to try to prevent any more runs from North Texas. This paid off for the team, and the top of the third ended without runs for North Texas.

Sophomore utility player Jordan Mauch hit a home run in the bottom of the third inning to continue her season hitting streak. The hit drove Mauch and Chaumont home to bring the score to 4-3.

North Texas continued to score runs until the end, when it finalized the 9-4 score. Mauch scored one last run in the fifth inning for the Lady Toppers.

“Game one was definitely better. I felt like we were stronger in the circle than in game two, but overall for the day [Saturday], I thought we hit well,” Tudor said.

For the first two innings in the series-deciding game, both teams were held scoreless. Downing started out for the Lady Toppers in the circle and pitched until the third inning, when sophomore pitcher Hannah Parker stepped in to throw.

The third inning was where the action took off for both teams. Each team scored five runs in this single inning.

North Texas scored a run right off the bat, and then an RBI triple was hit before one last run had the team ahead of WKU by five runs.

WKU mirrored North Texas’ performance in the bottom of the third when Mauch notched another home run.

Holmgren then hit a shot that sent another WKU player home. Parker stepped up to the plate to deliver a hit that tied the two teams.

The Mean Green went on to score two more runs in the next inning, one in the sixth and finally the winning two in the seventh.

The Lady Toppers attempted to catch up in the fifth when Holmgren made it home thanks to a hit by Norfleet.

The Lady Toppers dropped the game and the series with this loss.

“We’re not happy about it,” Tudor said. “I feel like we got beat in all facets of the game.”

Next, WKU will take on Louisville in a home game at the WKU Softball Complex Wednesday at 6 p.m.