Home runs plague WKU pitching in series finale loss

An Florida International runner scores during their game against WKU Sunday afternoon at the WKU Softball Complex. FIU won 9-6.

Hasani Grayson

With the wind blowing out and balls carrying further than normal, WKU dropped its series finale against Florida International.

FIU took advantage of the extra lift the wind provided and hit five home runs Sunday afternoon.

WKU had just one home run, but head coach Tyra Perry wasn’t using the wind as the excuse for their 9-6 loss.

“We always say that both teams are playing under the same conditions,” she said. “It kind of negates things a bit but I think that first home run especially caught a jet stream and got some help.”

FIU didn’t allow sophomore pitcher Emily Rousseau to settle into a rhythm early in the contest. In the first two innings Rousseau gave up six runs on three home runs.

After 1 2/3 innings pitches the Lady Toppers went to the bullpen and brought in sophomore pitcher Brittanie Albright. Albright would give up another run that would be charged to Rousseau’s ERA.

FIU pitching didn’t fair too much better as they gave up five runs in the first three innings. Sophomore outfielder Kelsie Mattox continued hot streak  hitting a solo shot in the first and Laura Smith had two RBIs as part of the offensive output in the first three innings. After three innings of trading runs the score was 7-5 in favor of FIU.

Albright had been keeping the bats of the Lady Panthers relatively quiet, until a two run home run in the sixth put WKU in a 9-5 deficit.  

The Lady Toppers had runners on base in the seventh but fell short, as WKU lost the series finale 9-6.

Perry was happy with how the offense and defense played but said that her pitchers have a lot they can do to improve.

“You can’t give up hits with two strikes and two outs, we gave up a lot,” she said. “We need to not give and we need to take.”

Senior outfielder Laura Smith, who had two RBIs in Sunday’s game, said that part of the reason for the loss was the slow start on defense early on in the game.  

“Defense was kind of slacking I this series a little bit,” she said. “We came out a little sluggish in the beginning innings. But we’re feeling good at the plate we’ll play relaxed on defense and just go with the game.”

WKU will play Louisiana-Monroe on the road next weekend. Smith, who mentioned that senior infielder Amanda Walden is more of a vocal leader, said that as the season gets closer to it’s conclusion, she hopes to lead her team with her play on the field.

“I’m more of a leader by example kind of person,” she said. “As far as leading for the team I just try to put forth the best example I can and have everyone else follow.”