Lady Toppers go undefeated at home invitational

Junior catcher Kellie Quarles tags an Indiana State player during the Hilltopper Spring Classic at the WKU Softball Complex Sunday afternoon. WKU finished with three wins this weekend including a 10-2 victory over Indiana State.

Hasani Grayson

After starting the season on the road, WKU gave the home fans plenty to cheer about in this weekend’s Holiday Inn University Plaza Hilltopper Spring Classic.

WKU (10-3) swept the weekend of games, getting wins over Murray State, Morehead State, Bowling Green State and Indiana State.

In the weekend finale on Sunday, the Lady Toppers defeated Indiana State 10-2.

WKU put up five runs in the fourth inning, three of which came on a double to center from senior designated player Laura Smith.

“I hadn’t been hitting well the past week, but my coaches and teammates never really got down on me, and that kept me going,” Smith said, who finished the game with four RBI.

The Lady Toppers took advantage of the Sycamores’ five errors on the way to an eight-run win.

WKU’s games on Saturday weren’t as lopsided, but a few key hits helped lift the team past Bowling Green and Morehead State.

In the second game against Bowling Green, WKU came out with a 5-1 victory. Sophomore infielder Olivia Watkins was a key in the offense, going 2-for-3 driving in two runs. Perry was also particularly impressed with the pitching performance from sophomore Emily Rousseau.

“I thought Emily did a great job,” Head Coach Tyra Perry said  of Rousseau, who got wins on Friday and Saturday. “She was in command yesterday and today, and she’s slowly starting to reach her full potential.”

WKU was not able to cruise to a win in Saturday evening’s first game, a 4-1 victory over Morehead State.

The Lady Toppers were able to tie the game at one in the sixth after freshman Preslie Cruce missed a stop sign at third base and scored on a close play at the plate. Perry said that even though a sign was missed, being aggressive can help win ball games.

“That’s the nature of the game,” she said. “If you’re aggressive, sometimes things will go your way.”

With the game tied at one  in the eighth and two runners on base, sophomore infielder Amanda Thomas had an aggressive play of her own when she saw a pitch she liked and quickly deposited it over the center field wall for a walk-off home run.

“I was just trying to see the ball and hit the ball,” Thomas said. “I knew there was a runner at third, and there are so many ways you can score runners from third, so I was just trying to swing hard and get a hit.”

WKU beat Murray State 10-1 in five innings in the opener on Friday afternoon.

Wind played a factor throughout the game. But Perry said while her team was aware of the tough conditions, they weren’t distracted by them.

“The other team is playing under the same conditions that we are, and it’s the team that manages those conditions that’s going to win the ball game,” she said. “We talk about the wind and checking the flag and making sure that we own it instead of letting it own us.”

WKU will be back on the road next weekend at the 2012 Buzz Classic. The team will play games in Boca Raton, Fla., and Woodstock, Ga.