WKU softball swept by Eastern Kentucky in home doubleheader

Sophomore utility infielder Ciara Garcia makes contact during the second game of the Lady Toppers’ doubleheader against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon. The Toppers lost both games.

Zach Greenwell

Wednesday’s home opener was unkind to Lady Topper softball in two different ways.

WKU (3-4) narrowly lost the first game of its doubleheader with Eastern Kentucky, 1-0, before dropping the second, 9-2, at the WKU Softball Complex.

Even though the losses occurred differently, Head Coach Tyra Perry said they were both caused by a lack of aggression at the plate.

“I think sometimes we get tense or we try not to lose in those types of situations,” Perry said. “That’s pretty typical with a young team … but we’ve got to grow up really fast and want the bat.”

The Lady Toppers left a combined 17 runners on base against EKU, 12 of them in the first 1-0 loss. They twice left the bases loaded in that game, including in the final inning.

“Today didn’t go as planned, obviously,” junior Amanda Walden said. “We wanted to come out aggressive, and I think we just came out a little tentative. That’s not like us.”

EKU (4-3) had just three hits in game one, but Christina Ciolek’s RBI double in the top of the fourth inning was all the offense the Colonels needed.

Sophomore pitcher Kim Wagner (1-2) took the loss for WKU, striking out eight batters in a full seven innings of work.

“Kim did a pretty good job,” Perry said. “She held them to one run, and that’s a team that’s going to score a run. We’ve got to score to win ballgames, so Kim did a good job.”

EKU got off to a much faster start in Wednesday’s second game, tacking on four runs in the top of the first off junior pitcher Dana Nathanson.

The Lady Toppers surrendered five more runs over the next five innings, while WKU’s only offense came on a two-run home run by Walden in the bottom of the fourth that scored freshman pinch runner Tiffany Gooch.

“It was frustrating because we should beat teams like EKU, but I think it was kind of a wake-up call for us,” Wagner said. “I think maybe if we respond to it in the right way, it could actually turn out for the best for us.”

The Lady Toppers don’t have long to dwell on being swept Wednesday, as they head to Oxford, Miss., Friday for the Red and Blue Classic at Ole Miss.

They’ll play five games in three days this weekend, starting with Austin Peay at 9 a.m. Friday.

Walden called WKU’s effort Wednesday a “fluke” and said she expects things to be different when the Lady Toppers take the field this weekend.

“We left a lot of baserunners on, and that’s one thing we try not to do,” she said. “We’re going to work on that, we’re going to work on getting hits in a row, and I don’t think you’re going to see us play like this again.”