Late inning rallies leave WKU winless in North Texas

Hasani Grayson

After dropping a pair of one-run games against North Texas, WKU avoided the series sweep in unusual fashion.

WKU’s series finale on Sunday ended in a 6-6 tie after seven innings of play. The game was called due to WKU’s 5 p.m. flight from Dallas to Nashville that, had the game gone any later, the team would have risked missing.

The game was scheduled for a noon start time, but the first pitch was delayed.

“We actually started late since there were some field difficulties,” said Head Coach Tyra Perry. “So there were a couple of things that were out of our control.”

Junior outfielder Katrina Metoyer also found the situation unusual.

“At the end of the game, I even said ‘I don’t even know when that’s happened,’” she said. “We’ve played for three years of college now, and that’s never happened.

“The last time that happened was in 10 and under, probably.”

Perry said she’s unsure how the tie will affect their standings but also expressed disappointment that they weren’t able to win in seven innings.

“We actually played well through most of the innings. We just couldn’t finish,” she said.

The Lady Toppers (21-14-1, 4-4-1 Sun Belt Conference) were up by two heading into what would be the game’s final frame when junior pitcher Kim Wagner gave up a two run home run that tied the game at six.  

With their flight only a few hours from taking off, WKU didn’t get an opportunity to win it in extras, and the game ended in a tie.

Perry said their inability to finish plagued them in the doubleheader against the Mean Green on Saturday, though she did note that the hitting had improved from recent games.

“We were stringing hits together more than we were previously,” she said “During our warmups, we’ve been doing a lot of tracking, so I think we’ve just been seeing the ball better.”

Runs weren’t as plentiful in the second game of a doubleheader as WKU lost 4-3.

The loss came when WKU was up by a run heading into the bottom of the seventh. A throwing error by sophomore infielder Olivia Watkins put a runner on first base with junior pitcher Mallorie Sulaski in the circle.

“We had some key errors in the innings where the other team scored,” Perry said. “That’s something we’ve got to work on.”

Sulaski gave up a home run later that inning, giving North Texas the walk-off win.  

The Lady Toppers’ series opening loss yielded the most offense production of the weekend. Even though Wagner and sophomore pitcher Emily Rousseau gave up five runs in the seventh, Perry gave the offense credit.

“They worked their process and got a couple of key hits in key times… to give us the lead going into the 7th,” she said.

Perry said that she wanted to challenge her pitchers more in practice in the hopes of making them more confident late in games.

“It’s mostly pressure situations at this point and how we respond to them,” Perry said when talking about her team’s late inning losses. “There’s been times this year when we’ve responded well, and there have been others where we’ve given in a little.”

WKU will continue their conference schedule against Troy at home this weekend. First pitch will be at 5 p.m. Friday.