Not-so-pleasant memories from back-to-back home-opening losses to Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 22 lingered Monday in the pre-game air at the WKU Softball Complex.
The Lady Toppers (10-5) failed to diminish those early home woes, losing to Bowling Green State, 6-3, in ten innings.
The loss breaks an eight-game winning streak for WKU that ensued after the EKU games on Feb. 22.
It also lowers the Lady Toppers’ home record to 0-3 this season.
Head Coach Tyra Perry said the team didn’t have the right mental state to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
“We showed up flat,” she said. “When you show up flat, anybody can beat you at any given time. We had our opportunities throughout this entire game and couldn’t get enough to finish.”
WKU tied the game twice but failed to grab the lead on the momentum swings, leaving 14 runners on base.
Bowling Green State struck in the first inning to gain an early lead on a throwing error by senior Sara Williams, but WKU came right back in the second with an RBI single from freshman Kelsie Mattox.
The two teams remained tied going into extra innings until Bowling Green State’s Paige Berger hit a towering home run over the centerfield fence in the eighth inning to give her team a 3-1 lead.
But the Lady Toppers tied the game back up, 3-3, in the bottom of the inning with a two-run home run of their own by junior Amanda Thomas.
Thomas said she felt good about the team’s chances going into extra innings.
“I felt pretty confident because we’ve been in that position before, and we’ve overcome, so I was pretty confident that we would score those runs,” she said.
A three-run home run in the tenth inning by Bowling Green State’s Erika Stratton helped dispel that confidence as WKU would fail to produce in the bottom of the inning.
Mattox said the losses have little to do with the venue — despite the numbers at home — and won’t affect the Lady Toppers’ future home games.
“I think we just haven’t found our identity at home,” she said. “We played Eastern Kentucky and then went on an eight-game win streak, so we look at it as one game at a time.”
The Lady Toppers will play a doubleheader against Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Tuesday at 1 and 3 p.m. at the WKU Softball Complex.
Thomas said wins Tuesday will reveal a lot about the team’s true grit this season.
“Tomorrow is going to tell if we’re going to let this game affect us, or if it’s just going to be a bump in the road,” she said. “We have to overcome this.”