WKU splits home doubleheader with Troy

WKU sophomore infielder Olivia Watkins barely misses a tag during the first game against Troy Friday at the WKU Softball Complex. WKU lost 9-1.

Hasani Grayson

After a blowout loss in the series opener on Friday, WKU responded with a blowout win in the back end of the doubleheader.

WKU lost to conference rival Troy 9-1 in the first game on Friday but bounced back with a 8-0 mercy rule win in the second game.

Junior outfielder Kelsie Mattox got the scoring started early in the first game when a ball that umpires originally ruled foul, was changed to a home run call. The ball was just barely able to make contact with the left field foul pole and was her first home run since March 10 against FAU.

The Trojans answered back quickly in the next inning as Nikki Hollett hit a solo shot over the center field wall to tie the game at one.

The inning would get more stressful for pitcher Mallorie Sulaski as she found herself in a bases loaded situation with one out. She was able to get one out at home after the batter grounded out to third basemen Preslie Cruce who thew the runner out at home. The next batter, however, would single home a run to give Troy a 2-1 lead.

Troy (23-13, 5-7 Sun Belt Conference) would pile on more runs as the game went on getting a combined six runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh to win by a final of 9-1. WKU (22-15-1, 5-5-1) had only four hits the entire game and only had runners in scoring position twice.

After the loss Head Coach Tyra Perry said that she told her team it was time for them to take responsibility for how they were playing.

“They can do well in practice but at some point they have to take over and take responsibility and play the game,” she said. Perry continued by saying that it was the upperclassmen who did most of the talking after the game.

“I actually backed out of the huddle and told them ‘I’m going to back out and you guys take over,” Perry said. “Not that we’re backing away and don’t believe in you but its time for you to lead the team where you want it to go.’”

WKU seemed to respond well to what was said in the post game huddle as they found a way to get on the board early in the nightcap. Junior outfielder Katrina Metoyer tripled to start the second inning Sulaski hit a sac fly to push across their first run.

WKU’s offense would string together a few more hits in the fourth inning The rally was capped off by a three run home run by Mattox. A solo shot would be added by Cruce in the fifth as WKU avenged the earlier defeat by winning 8-0 in a game that was called after the sixth.

Mattox, who had three RBIs on two home runs, said she didn’t do anything special to hit the ball deep on Friday.

“I was seeing the deeper, and when you see the ball deeper, the ball jumps off your bat,” she said.

Mattox credited the drills in practice that sharpened her skills in going the opposite way and seeing the ball all the way into the zone.

Offense highlighted the second game but the pitching performance by sophomore Emily Rousseau was just as strong. She went five innings, giving up one hit and striking out nine.

Rousseau said that the feeling of defeat had grown tiresome and used it as motivation when she stepped into the circle.

“I was just pissed,” she said. “I think everyone was. We were so tired of that feeling. I think were were all just really determined to take it to them.”

She also said that while Perry has been saying she’s only at 65 percent of what she’s capable of, she hopes her performance has bumped her up to around 75 percent in the eyes of her coaches.

WKU will take on Troy in the series finale at 1 p.m. Saturday. Mattox says the Lady Toppers are determined to take two out of three from their opponents.

“We’re ready to win a series tomorrow and get on to the next one,” she said “We got some work to do tomorrow and we’re going to come out and play.”