WKU closes out weekend with rematch win over UAB

Hasani Grayson

After an up and down weekend at the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tuscon, Ariz., WKU notched a 6-0 win over Alabama-Birmingham on Sunday.

WKU (6-3) finished the Invitational with three wins and two losses. Two of those wins came against UAB, who the Lady Toppers also played on Saturday.

Head Coach Tyra Perry thought it said a lot about her team that they were able to twice beat a team which finished 39-19 in 2011.

“UAB is a very good program,” Perry said. “The finished at the top of a very tough conference, in Conference-USA, so it means a lot for us to beat them twice.”

The game was scoreless into the fifth inning, but WKU got its bats going late, scoring two runs in the fifth inning and four in the sixth.

Sophomore infielder Amanda Thomas had a two-run home run in the sixth to cap off a day where she went 2-for-3 and had four RBI.    

Perry said the key to the late inning offense was executing with runners on base, something the Lady Toppers had difficulty doing earlier in the game.

“It was a good matchup between two good teams and our team outlasted UAB,” she said. “…We actually had a couple of runners early in the game and didn’t quite get them across the plate but we didn’t give up and kept doing the right things to get clutch hits and win the game.”

Junior pitcher Kim Wagner threw seven shutout innings, scattering six hits and a walk while striking out seven.

“It may have been one of her best pitching performances as far as facing a really tough team,” she said. “ She got strikeouts when she needed them, ground balls when she needed them and she did a really good job of controlling the game.”

Wagner leads the team with a 2.13 ERA and is 3-1 with 23 innings pitched so far this season.

Perry said he enjoyed the atmosphere fans created during the games this weekend, and found that these set of games reinforced how competitive her team is.

“We definitely know how to fight,” she said. “We played a lot of tough teams and everybody on our team came out and expected to win.”

WKU hopes to bring their confidence back home with them to the WKU Softball Complex 3 p.m. matchup with Murray State on Feb. 24. The game is the opener of the Holiday Inn University Plaza Hilltopper Spring Classic, hosted by WKU.