WKU softball sweeps Buzz Classic, now on eight-game winning streak

Sophomore pitcher Kim Wagner works on the mound in WKU’s win over UNC-Greensboro on Friday. Wagner recorded two wins at the Buzz Classic this weekend, helping the Lady Toppers finish 3-0 and win their eighth straight game.

Nick Bratcher

Heavy rain stopped WKU from playing all of its scheduled games in the Buzz Classic in Woodstock, Ga., this weekend.

But the Lady Toppers (11-4) didn’t let a little bad weather stop them from winning their final game this weekend.

An 8-2 win over Rhode Island on Sunday cemented the second-straight weekend sweep for WKU and continued an eight-game winning streak.

WKU grabbed an 11-3 win over Rhode Island in five innings Friday and also beat North Carolina-Greensboro, 7-1.

The winning streak began after back-to-back losses in a home-opening doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 23.

Rhode Island took the lead in the second inning Sunday after Erika Szymanski hit a home run over the centerfield fence.

The Lady Toppers refused to stay down after the early deficit and scored three in the third inning on an RBI single by sophomore Katrina Metoyer and a two-run home run by sophomore Kim Wagner.

Wagner said she keeps her approach simple in the pressure situations.

“I tell myself to see the ball and not to guess where it’s going to be,” she said. “When I start thinking about it too much is when I screw things up for myself.”

It sounds like a simple mantra, but for a Lady Topper team that struggled early this season with pressure situations, the simple things may be going a long way.

Metoyer added some insurance in the fourth inning with a grand slam and put the game on ice. She, like Wagner, attributed team success to simplifying the game.

“We’ve done a lot of mental training, and it’s helped us realize that even though there are pressures, it’s just softball,” Metoyer said. “Even if you do strike out, there will be another at-bat, or someone else will pick you up.

“We’re realizing there’s not as much pressure as we originally thought.”

Wagner earned the win for the Lady Toppers on Sunday, yielding just two runs on two hits and striking out nine in seven innings of work.

Head Coach Tyra Perry said the pitching staff has been one of WKU’s biggest assets this season.

“Our pitchers have done an excellent job of working our game plan and executing their pitches properly so we have a chance to win,” she said.

The Lady Toppers next play a two-day home stand at the WKU Softball Complex, hosting Bowling Green State at 3 p.m. on Monday and a doubleheader against Southern Illinois Edwardsville at 1 and 3 p.m. Tuesday.

A few more expectant eyes may be waiting for the team this week upon their return.

Perry said the taste of success over the past two weekends will help the Lady Toppers withstand any mounting pressure.

“I think the team is starting to see what it’s like to play ball when they’re at their best,” she said. “It’s not going to matter if they’re at home or away. They’re just going to play their game.”