Lady Tops split home doubleheader with Samford

WKU junior and outfielder Laura Smith bats during the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against Samford. WKU lost the first game 4-3 and won the second 8-0.

Nick Bratcher

The Lady Toppers struggled with a familiar problem as they faced Samford Tuesday in a doubleheader at home.

WKU (21-17, 3-6 Sun Belt Conference) split the day’s action, dropping the first game, 4-3, and winning the second, 8-0, in six innings at the WKU Softball Complex.

Head Coach Tyra Perry said the day’s games epitomized the team’s season, and that the Lady Toppers failed to execute on pregame plans.

“The first game, we did not show up,” she said. “We stayed in the background and beat ourselves. In the huddle before the game, we talked about being aggressive and putting our foot on the gas, and we did not do that.”

Samford reached the scoreboard first on a three-run home run in the top of the third from first baseman Nicole Bobrowski to put the Bulldogs up, 3-0, in game one.

The Lady Toppers answered when freshman Kelsie Mattox hit an RBI double to left field in the bottom of the third inning to narrow the margin, 3-1, and freshman Tiffany Gooch scored in the fifth inning on a wild pitch to bring the score to 3-2.

Sophomore pitcher Mallorie Sulaski failed to cap Samford’s offense, as Bobrowski responded again in the seventh inning with an RBI single to left field to put the Bulldogs up, 4-2.

The Lady Toppers made a push in the bottom of the inning as Katrina Metoyer hit an RBI double to left field to pull WKU within one run with two outs but failed to score her, losing the first game, 4-3.

Sophomore Mallorie Sulaski took the loss for the Lady Toppers, yielding four runs on four hits in six innings of work.

Perry said the team learned a lesson that it “should have learned a long time ago” and came out with more aggression in game two.

“I told them that we’re either not smart or not focused,” she said. “I told them that it was probably number two, but that we needed to get focused and play ball.”

WKU struck first in the second game as freshman Amanda Thomas belted a home run over the center-field fence to put WKU up, 1-0, in the second inning.

Junior Laura Smith added to the Lady Toppers’ lead in the third inning with an RBI single to extend their lead, 2-0.

A flurry of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth clinched the win for WKU in run-rule fashion after six innings.

Kim Wagner grabbed the win for the Lady Toppers, pitching six innings and giving up no runs on three hits.

WKU next plays a doubleheader at Troy on Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m. and a series finale Sunday at 1 p.m.