Lady Tops beat No. 6 Michigan, fall to Louisville on Sunday

Nick Bratcher

LOUISVILLE ā€” The Lady Toppers’ search for a win at the Louisville Classic continued Sunday.

WKU (14-8) found that win against previously undefeated No. 6 Michigan, 3-2, but failed to continue that success in its next game and lost to Louisville, 6-2.

Head Coach Tyra Perry said playing talented teams like Michigan and Louisville will benefit the Lady Toppers moving forward into conference play.

“You have to test your team and play the best in order to see exactly where you are,” she said. “Teams like this tend to exploit your weaknesses, and I think it’s good so we know what to work on this week going into conference play.”

The Lady Toppers struck the first blow against Michigan (24-1), scoring two runs in the third inning on a walk by sophomore Ciara Garcia and sacrifice fly by junior Laura Smith.

WKU added an insurance run in the sixth inning on a double by junior Amanda Walden.

Walden said she kept her approach simple and understood what the team needed from her.

“I was just getting up there to get a hit,” she said. “I knew we would need an extra run of insurance because Michigan is such a good team.”

That cushion made the difference as Michigan scored two runs in the seventh inning to mount a serious threat but ultimately came up short.

Sophomore Mallorie Sulaski (6-3) earned the win, pitching the full seven innings and giving up two runs on six hits.

Perry said the win against Michigan demonstrated what the Lady Toppers can do at the top of their game.

“It was an exciting game,” she said. “To come out and get a win from them in the way that we did- I thought we played a really good game to get that win- was outstanding.

“It shows our players that we have the ability to play with anyone at any time, and if we show up and do the things that we teach every day, then we have a shot to beat teams like Michigan.”

Louisville came out strong in the second game – scoring two in the first inning – but WKU came right back with two runs of its own in the top of the second inning on RBI singles from Garcia and sophomore Kim Wagner.

Louisville broke the tie in the bottom of the inning on a grand slam by Chelsea Bemis and went on to win by that margin.

Wagner (6-4) was hung with the loss for WKU, pitching just 1 and 1/3 innings and yielding six runs on six hits.

The Lady Toppers’ next game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday at Tennessee State.