WKU notches 11th straight Sun Belt win in FIU sweep

Kyle Williams

The Lady Toppers earned their fourth Sun Belt Conference series sweep of the season thanks to solid pitching performances against FIU this weekend in Miami.

WKU (35-14, 18-3 Sun Belt Conference) is currently riding an 11-game Sun Belt win streak and has earned 18 total Sun Belt victories this season — a new WKU record.

The third victory over FIU gave WKU sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt standings.

The Lady Toppers used a timely RBI from junior outfielder Kelsie Mattox in extra innings to seal a 2-1 victory in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader.

Junior pitcher Emily Rousseau (21-5) started in the circle for the Lady Toppers and allowed one run while striking out six in all eight innings.

Rousseau is just the fourth pitcher in school history to record at least 20 wins in a single season.

The Lady Toppers got on the board first in the fourth inning as junior infielder Amanda Thomas posted her 13th home run of the season on a solo shot.

FIU notched a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings before Mattox scored junior infielder Olivia Watkins in the eighth to take the 2-1 victory.

WKU clinched the series with a 1-0 win in game two thanks in part to another stellar performance in the circle.

Senior pitcher Mallorie Sulaski pitched all seven innings of the shutout and allowed a total of just two hits. Sulaski said defense was the deciding factor.

“Defense wins games,” Sulaski said. “We just had a great defense behind us. The girls in there had some great diving catches and amazing plays and really kept us in the game.”

The Lady Toppers posted the first run of the game in the sixth inning off a sacrifice RBI from Thomas that scored sophomore infielder Preslie Cruce.

WKU completed the sweep of FIU on Sunday with a 5-0 game three shutout.

Rousseau earned her 21st win of the season as she allowed just four hits in the shutout.

WKU scored a run in the second inning before senior infielder Ciara Garcia recorded her first home run of the season in the third. The homer scored Watkins to give the Lady Toppers a 3-0 lead.

WKU added another in the third as Mattox scored off a RBI from sophomore outfielder Shawna Sadler.

An FIU error scored senior catcher Karavin Dew in the fourth inning to solidify the 5-0 Lady Toppers victory.

Coach Tyra Perry said the Lady Toppers have been working toward defensive dominance.

“That old saying defense wins championships is there for a reason,” Perry said. “We’ve been working quite a bit on defense…our pitchers are really starting to find their stride and our infield and outfield are really starting to work together.”

WKU travels to Indiana to take on Evansville Wednesday before wrapping up the season with a doubleheader against Middle Tennessee at the WKU Softball Complex on Saturday.