Lady Tops miss out on sweep of North Texas with Sunday loss

Nick Bratcher

A pregame dance competition broke out Sunday among the Lady Toppers before they took on North Texas.

But WKU (20-16, 3-6 Sun Belt Conference) lost its groove in the sixth inning and fell to North Texas, 11-7, in its final game of the three-game series at the WKU Softball Complex.

Head Coach Tyra Perry said she knew grabbing a third win would be difficult and that pitching especially struggled in the game.

“Sweeping is tough,” she said. “You’ve got to actively go out to get that third game, and I don’t think we came out on the mound the way we did yesterday.”

North Texas took an early lead on an RBI single from left fielder Mariza Martinez and an RBI sacrifice fly by catcher Caitlin Grimes in the first inning, putting the Mean Green ahead, 2-0.

Freshman Megan Johnson responded for the Lady Toppers in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single to trim the North Texas lead to 2-1.

North Texas extended its lead in the second inning as third baseman Brooke Foster blasted a two-run home run over the center-field fence to put the score at 4-1.

Then WKU answered in the third inning on an RBI double from sophomore Ciara Garcia and an error-induced RBI from freshman Megan Johnson to close the North Texas lead to 4-3.

A fielding error by freshman Kelsie Mattox in the fourth inning brought North Texas to a 5-3 lead.

But the margin was shortlived, as sophomore Katrina Metoyer hit an RBI single to right field, and Garcia tallied her second RBI of the day on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, tying the game at 5-5.

A wild pitch from North Texas in the bottom of the fifth gave WKU its first lead, 6-5, but the Lady Toppers would return the favor on a wild pitch from Kim Wagner in the top of the sixth to tie it up again, 6-6.

Perry said she was impressed by the resilience of the team to battle back from the early deficit.

“I thought the team fought well even after getting down early, but our pitchers just didn’t step up,” she said.

Pitching continued to skid in the sixth inning as North Texas broke out with a flurry of hits, including a two-run home run from first baseman Mallory Cantler to start the rally, and grabbed the lead, 11-6.

Despite a home run from Amanda Thomas in the seventh, the Mean Green held on from there to win, 11-7.

Sophomore Kim Wagner took the loss for WKU, pitching four innings and giving up six runs on seven hits.

Wagner said North Texas had its offense going early and caused the Lady Toppers to play catch-up the entire game.

“The other team came out and started hitting really well,” she said. “We have to step up and make sure we keep them off the bases and give our team a chance.”

The Lady Toppers play again Tuesday in a doubleheader against Samford at the WKU Softball Complex at 4 and 6 p.m.