Lady Toppers struggle to hit at West Coast tournament

Austin Lanter

The WKU Lady Topper softball team traveled to California over the weekend to compete in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament and returned with a pair of wins and a trio of losses. In all three losses, the WKU offense was shut down and shutout as the team did not record a run in those three games.

On the weekend, WKU (5-4-1) faced a total of three opponents in five games and all three of them, UC Davis, Robert Morris, and No. 13 UCLA, shut the Lady Toppers out in one game. However, the team was able to get the best of both UC Davis and Robert Morris once as they faced both of those teams twice but only faced the Bruins once.

In the three shutout losses, the WKU offense only recorded eight total hits. Coach Amy Tudor contributed this to a variety of reasons, including the pitching by the opponents.

“I think that our pitch selection at times wasn’t the best,” she said. “We faced two quality pitchers in two of the games against UCLA and Robert Morris. Our adjustments at the plate weren’t the best in those games either.”

The team started off the weekend with a 2-0 loss to UC Davis on Friday. However, later that afternoon, WKU handed Robert Morris its first loss of the season 7-2 when the offense exploded for 11 hits. Senior infielder Olivia Watkins went 4-for-4 in the game with two runs while fellow senior infielder Amanda Thomas had three hits and three RBI’s.

The offense kept going into the teams first game on Saturday, a rematch against UC Davis. WKU was able to come from two runs down in the last inning to force extra innings before taking the game 9-8 in eight innings.

The Lady Toppers scored their nine runs on 10 hits including the game winner from freshman infielder Andie Martin, her only hit of the game.

“That showed a lot of guts in the team,” Tudor said. “It’s nice to see them continue to fight throughout. There were a lot of things that went wrong in that game. We made a lot of mistakes, both physical and mental. When the game was on the line we had a few players come up with clutch hits which is a good sign for the future.”

Later that day, WKU had the task of facing the 13th best team in the nation in UCLA. Senior pitcher Emily Rousseau took the mound for the team once again and was rattled early by the Bruins as they scored all five of their runs in the first three innings.

Rousseau settled down after that and allowed no runs in the last three innings of the contest, but the WKU offense could not get going as the team fell 5-0.

“They’re top notch,” Tudor said. “I felt like after the first few innings, Rousseau settled down and thought ‘I can compete with them.’ It was huge for her. It was a good lesson for her to learn early on.”

Robert Morris would get their revenge on the Lady Toppers on Sunday with a 5-0 win to close out the tournament.

WKU will play its first home games this weekend as they host the Hilltopper Spring Fling starting on Friday.