WKU splits pair of doubleheaders in Arizona

Hasani Grayson

The two first days of the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tuscon, Ariz., yielded two wins, two losses and some reasons for optimism for WKU.

In the weekend’s first game on Friday against North Dakota (3-5), WKU (5-3) exhibited their ability to score early and often. The Lady Toppers put up two runs in the first inning and kept the momentum throughout the game on their way to a 9-2 win.

Head Coach Tyra Perry said she was pleased with the 9-2 win to start off the weekend and said that the key to putting up runs is simple for her team.

“We got a couple of hits in a row and executed our offense and it payed off for us,” she said.

In addition to praising her team’s ability to string hits together Perry was also pleased with the pitching of junior Kim Wagner and her team’s defense.

“She did a good job of keeping the hitters off balance and the defense did a good job of making the routine plays,” Perry said.

Outfielder Katrina Metoyer echoed Perry, saying, “We have people who are capable of making great plays but the routine plays count the most.” The junior from Garden Grove, Calif., went 1-for-4 with 2 RBI in the game.

The second game of Friday’s doubleheader was not as offensively fruitful  for WKU as they lost 5-4 to Southern Utah. WKU got off to a fast start, however, scoring three runs in the second inning and added another tally in the third.

“The pitcher kind of moved the ball in and out on us and we never could get a handle on that,” said Perry.

She also pointed out that WKU hit a couple of balls hard on which that North Dakota’s defense was able to make plays.

Metoyer, who went 0-for-2 with a run scored in that contest, said that another part of the being held to six hits was that they hit too many balls in the air.

“We didn’t hit many ground balls and we hit a lot of pop ups,” she said. “For ground balls you make them make actual plays where they have to field it and throw it and catch it to get the out. We made it easy for them to get us out.”

Metoyer said that of 21 outs that they made, only about six of them were on balls hit on the ground.

The second day of the invitational produced similar results for WKU as they again won the first leg of the Saturday doubleheader against Alabama-Birmingham 3-2 and lost the second leg 6-4 to Arizona.

The win against UAB came in dramatic fashion as WKU went into the 7th inning down 2-1 but came back to tie and win the game after clutch RBIs from junior infielder Shawna Sadler with runners on second and third. Both runners scored, making the final score 3-2.

“We’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any day,” said Perry. “And we held on and did what we needed to do to win.”

WKU was unable to get another ugly win in its game against Arizona, however. WKU fell to the Wildcats after a back and fourth battle that saw WKU give up the game-winning runs in the sixth inning when the game had been tied at four.

Sophomore pitcher Emily Rousseau, who gave up the runs, came into a situation where she inherited base runners late in the game.

“She did a good job for where she is right now,” said Perry when talking about how how Rousseau handled the high pressure situation. “But in the future I think we’ll see her do a better job of getting out of those innings.”

After going 2-2 their first four games WKU will play their fifth and final game of the Hillenbrand Invitational on Sunday in a rematch against UAB.