Lady Toppers go 2-2 in opening weekend

Kyle Williams

The Lady Toppers concluded the opening weekend splitting their four games of the Bulldog Battle. WKU (2-2) had resounding 9-1 and 5-1 victories over Murray State and Lipscomb, but fell short to Northwestern State and host Mississippi State by a combined total of three runs.

In game one of the Opening Day double-header, junior pitcher Emily Rousseau gave up just four hits and one run as the Lady Toppers ran away with a victory over Murray State.

Eight different players had at least one hit and seven had at least one run for WKU. Senior catcher Kellie Quarles led the way with four hits and four RBI.

“In the wins we had a great team effort,” coach Tyra Perry said. “A lot of people came in and out, played their roles and did things to help us move forward and get the win. We were playing team ball and we want to continue to do that.”

The 9-1 victory was career win No. 300 for Perry. Despite the milestone, Perry said it just felt good to get the win.

“Exciting to get a win, period,” Perry said. “Especially against an in-state rival. We have a great group of girls so it’s fun to reach milestones with this group.”

The Lady Toppers came out strong in the second of the two Opening Day matchups as three Lady Toppers scored runs in the first inning to give WKU an early advantage over Northwestern State.

“I think it’s really great to come out strong,” Mallorie Sulaski said. “It gives us a little breathing room and a little ability to relax and just play instead having to press and score runs.”

The Lady Demons responded by adding a run in the second and third inning before scoring three in the sixth, giving NSU the 5-3 win.

Sophomore pitcher Janna Scheff gave up 11 hits and all five runs.

Senior pitcher Mallorie Sulaski led the way in the first game on day two of the Bulldog Battle against Lipscomb, allowing only one run on two hits.

Junior outfielder Kelsie Mattox and junior infielder Olivia Watkins each had two hits for the Lady Toppers’ balanced team effort.

“We play off of each other,” Mattox said. “So with chemistry, we all know each other. We all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we’re able to pick up each other.”

The Lady Toppers battled with host Mississippi State until the very end before falling 1-0.

Junior pitcher Emily Rousseau fell to 1-1 on the season despite striking out six Bulldogs and allowing just one run on two hits.

MSU pitcher Alison Owen gave up just one hit all game, coming from WKU’s Watkins in the first inning.

Perry said the Lady Toppers are continuing to improve in close games and are learning to take what is given to them.

“In the Mississippi State game we were right where we wanted to be,” Perry said. “We have to make more noise and do a better job of adjusting and taking what the game gives us.”

The Lady Toppers return home this Friday to host the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic at Buchanon Park, in Bowling Green.