Lady Toppers fall by one run to Regional host Alabama

Senior catcher Karavin Dew attempts to tag out a Alabama runner at home plate. WKU lost 7-6 against Alabama in the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala on Saturday May 17, 2013.

Kyle Williams

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A strong effort on both sides of the ball wasn’t enough to topple the defending national champions Saturday as WKU (42-17) fell to Alabama (44-13) 7-6 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Regional at Rhoads Stadium.

Coach Tyra Perry said the outcome of the game was determined by only a few key plays for Alabama.

“I’m proud of my team and their efforts today,” Perry said. “…If a couple plays had gone different ways then we would be on the other side of things right now.”

Junior pitcher Emily Rousseau started in the circle for WKU and allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 108 total pitches.

Alabama struck first in the bottom of the first inning with two runs, one coming off a WKU error and the other off an RBI single.

Senior outfielder Katrina Metoyer quickly responded in the top of the second inning with a two-run home run to knot it up at 2-2.

The Metoyer blast is just the 17th home run allowed by Alabama’s Jackie Traina all season.

Metoyer added to her RBI count in the top of the third inning with a full-count three-run triple to right field to give WKU the 5-2 lead.

The Crimson Tide answered in the bottom of the third inning with four runs on three hits and one error. Alabama loaded the bases three times in the inning.

An RBI single from sophomore infielder Preslie Cruce in the top of the sixth inning scored freshman infielder Brooke Holloway to tie the game at six apiece.

The Crimson Tide responded in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center field to regain the lead 7-6.

The Lady Toppers were unable to plate a run in the final inning and fell to the host Crimson Tide by just one run.

Metoyer said the Lady Toppers can bounce back in the next game by playing within their means.

“Basically we’re just going to try smarter rather than harder,” Metoyer said. “…We gave them a lot of things I think. We just need to make sure we’re going out there and playing solid ball rather than trying to do stuff we’re not used to doing.”

WKU will play the winner of Jacksonville State and USC Upstate at 6 p.m. tonight at Rhoads Stadium in the final of the loser’s bracket.

Perry said she thinks WKU is ready to solidify a spot in Sunday’s championship game with a victory tonight.

“We have to play or go home,” Perry said. “…If we want to be here we have to come out and play to win.”