There was no shortage of home runs Saturday as the WKU Lady Topper Softball team dropped two games to No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette, 8-4 and 11-5 respectively.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (27-6-1, 8-0 Sun Belt Conference) hit five home runs over the course of two games while WKU (24-12-1, 6-2 SBC) blasted two over the fence in the two losses.
The loss in game one ended the eight game win streak for WKU and marked the first loss for the Lady Toppers so far in Sun Belt play.
WKU was outscored 19-9 and ULL recorded 24 hits to the Lady Toppers 10.
Pitching was a big problem, according to coach Amy Tudor.
“Every run was earned,” she said. “25 hits in two games cannot happen for us to win the ballgame. I thought we scored enough runs to either win or be competitive.”
Game One (ULL 8, WKU 4)
The Ragin’ Cajuns, winners of 12 straight and 19 of 20, rattled senior pitcher Emily Rousseau early and often. The second batter of the game for ULL, center fielder Haley Hayden, blasted the Rousseau offering out of the park for a two-run home run.
Later in the first inning, senior infielder Olivia Watkins was walked and then stole second to become the all-time leader in steals in WKU softball history.
ULL would go on to score two runs in the third, three in the fourth, and an insurance run in the fifth. All in all, Rousseau gave up three home runs to three different hitters in the losing effort.
Rousseau was charged with all eight runs in six innings of work, giving up 10 hits, walking one, and striking out four.
WKU had a home run of its own in the second inning courtesy of sophomore infielder Brooke Holloway in the second inning. Other than that, the Lady Toppers plated two runs in the third and one in the seventh and final frame.
The Lady Toppers had plenty of chances in the first game as they left 11 runners on base throughout the course of the game. ULL pitcher Christina Hamilton walked eight and hit two batters but WKU could not convert on enough of those chances in the loss.
“I hope they have a short-term memory, come back tomorrow and be strong on the mound and continue to produce runs,” Tudor said. “I thought that was the bright point. Even though we didn’t hit the ball incredible well, we scored enough runs to win the ballgame.”
Game Two (ULL 11, WKU 5)
With a run in the first inning, WKU took its first lead of the series after trailing all the way in game one. ULL pitcher Jordan Wallace hit one batter and walked two in the first with one of those walks coming when the bases were loaded.
The lead only last one inning for the Lady Toppers though as ULL wasn’t done hitting homers. With two outs in the top of the third, Ragin’ Cajun Shelbi Redfearn hit her second homer of the day driving in two runs to give ULL the 2-1 lead.
ULL had its biggest inning of the day in the fourth plating six runs to pull away 8-1. Three of those runs came off yet another home run from ULL.
WKU got one of those runs back in the fifth inning courtesy of an RBI double by senior infielder Amanda Thomas.
The second home run for the Lady Toppers came in the sixth inning when junior infielder Preslie Cruce hit a three-run blast over the wall in center field to cut the lead in half.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got all three of those back in the seventh for a final score of 11-5.
“I think winning and losing – it’s momentum,” Tudor said. “Like we forget game one. I think Hannah (Miniard) threw well a couple innings, then she left one, and one became two, and two became three and four.
“It’s like we would score and they would deflate us by scoring. We’d score two, they’d score three. You can catch up when you’re that far behind.”
In the second game, the Lady Toppers could not close out the third and fourth innings on the defensive side. All eight runs came with two outs in the inning, two in the third and six in the fourth.
“I don’t think it was from lack of effort (from the pitchers),” Tudor said. “When you miss against Louisiana-Lafayette they’re going to put it over the fence or hit it hard somewhere. You can’t miss against a good hitter.
Game three of the series will be Sunday at noon at the WKU Softball Field.