WKU sweeps season ending doubleheader at MTSU

Hasani Grayson

WKU moved up in the standings days before beginning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with two wins against Middle Tennessee State on Saturday in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

A pair of wins on Saturday for the Lady Toppers combined with a pair of losses for Troy in its doubleheader against South Alabama gave WKU the fifth-best record in the conference on the last day of the regular season.

Saturday’s games altered the first round matchups for the tournament, but sophomore infielder Amanda Thomas said WKU wasn’t focused on the standings as they prepared to take on the Blue Raiders.

“I don’t think anyone was really focused on that,” she said. “We were just trying to take in one day at a time and get the wins. We also wanted to make it clear and show that we were a better team.”

WKU suffered a home loss to MTSU on April 24. Thomas said that the Lady Toppers wanted to prove that they were a better team than that 8-4 loss indicated.

The scoreboard indicated the Lady Toppers were the better team on Saturday, as they won 4-0 in the first game of the doubleheader and 10-1 in the second game.

The 10-1 win brought out the mercy rule, as the game ended after the sixth. Four different Lady Toppers had RBIs that game, including four runs driven in by Thomas’ bat.

Thomas, who hit a home run in both games, said the key to getting hits was patience.

“We were waiting on our pitch,” she said. “The pitcher was throwing a lot of balls low. So we were making her bring it up to us and that’s how we got base hits.”

Six different WKU players got hits in the second game and combined for 14 total during its 10-run assault.

MTSU bats were kept quiet for the most part by junior pitcher Mallorie Sulaski. She scattered eight hits in six innings and gave up just a single run in the 10-1 win.

“She did the basic things of attacking the batters with each pitch,” said Head Coach Tyra Perry. “She didn’t throw very many obvious balls and we’re really excited about that.”

Perry also said that Sulaski, who pitched just 54 innings this season and was limited by injury, should see some more time in the circle in the tournament.

Sulaski had three strikeouts and two walks in her third win of the year.

Sophomore pitcher Emily Rousseau also had a strong showing in the first leg of the doubleheader. She pitched seven shutout innings and had seven strikeouts while only giving up five hits.

A two RBI single from freshman infielder Preslie Cruce was all the run support Rousseau would need. WKU added single runs in the fourth and sixth with a double by freshman infielder Olivia Watkins and a solo homer by Thomas. WKU went on to win by that 4-0 score.

With the Sun Belt Tournament starting on May 9 Thomas said that she thinks her team will be able to remain calm during these elimination games.

“I don’t really feel the pressure. We’re not trying to put pressure on ourselves because of that,” Thomas said. “We’re just trying to take it one game at a time.”