Lady Toppers sweep Hilltopper Spring Fling

WKU senior infielder Amanda Thomas tags Canisius senior infielder Valorie Nappo as she attempted to steal the base in WKU’s win of 8-1 against Canisius on Friday Feb. 21, 2014 at the WKU softball complex in Bowling Green, Ky. (Jeff Brown/HERALD)

Austin Lanter

Led by its defense, the WKU Lady Topper softball team finished 4-0 over the weekend as they hosted the Hilltopper Spring Fling Tournament. The team defeated Canisius twice and Miami of Ohio and Bradley once apiece.

During the four games, the team only allowed three runs.

Freshman pitcher Hannah Miniard played a big part in the two games she started. Both times Miniard threw complete games and she only allowed two hits and one run in those starts. She also struck out 17 batters to improve to 4-0 this season.

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“Hannah, she’s doing great; I love Hannah,” junior infielder Preslie Cruce said. “She keeps a good composure. She’s easy to play with. Her pitches right now are doing great. They didn’t adjust to her this last game.”

Miniard, however, was quick to give the defense behind her the credit.

“I think it’s all a credit to the defense,” she said. “They make amazing plays and I’m just amazed every time that somebody in the outfield makes a diving catch or throws somebody out. I think it’s awesome.”

In the first game of the weekend against Canisius, WKU pounded out 11 hits and eight runs to beat the Golden Griffins by a score of 8-1.

The second game put the Lady Toppers against Miami (OH) and in that game the team had 13 hits to Miami’s one and won the game 7-0.

“I think it was consistent from pitching to fielding to hitting,” coach Amy Tudor said. “I felt we brought all parts of our game. The other part that doesn’t get talked about a lot is base running. We did a nice job base running.”

The second game against Canisius, which took place on Sunday was the closest game the Lady Toppers were involved in all weekend.

Canisius took the lead in the third inning and held on all the way until the final frame. In the bottom of the seventh, senior outfielder Kelsie Mattox led the inning off with a single. After that, WKU was the benefactor of two Canisius errors and the team was able to score two runs and take the game 2-1.

“We always talk about how we want to hate losing more than we like to win and that was one,” Cruce said. “We should have beaten them a lot earlier than the seventh inning. We were just glad to come through and get that win.”

The final game of the Spring Fling pitted two teams against each other who had not lost yet during the course of the weekend: WKU and Bradley.

Bradley jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but WKU was able to get a run across in the bottom of the frame to tie the game once more.

After that it was all WKU as the team plated a run in the third, two in the fourth, and another in the sixth.

Mattox had an inside the park home run in the fourth while Cruce had a leadoff shot to center field in the sixth.

“I think we looked good (this weekend), but we still have some things to improve on,” Miniard said. “Like first game today (against Canisius) we did not show up hitting but we showed up on defense and we made plays when it counted.”

Senior pitcher Emily Rousseau started the other two games for WKU this weekend and only allowed two runs.

WKU will play host to the Hilltopper Spring Classic this coming weekend as well. The team will face Green Bay, Northern Iowa, Indiana State, Wright State and IUPUI.