Softball splits on first day of Gaucho Classic; Sulaski tosses no-hitter

Nick Bratcher

WKU Head Coach Tyra Perry said she asked her team to give maximum effort and keep a positive attitude this weekend at the Gaucho Classic in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Lady Toppers showed a little of both Friday.

After sustaining a 3-2 loss to UC Santa Barbara in their season opener, the Lady Toppers battled back with a stellar pitching performance from pitcher Mallorie Sulaski later in the day as the sophomore no-hit Seattle for a 4-0 win.

WKU (1-1) struggled to produce in the early innings of the opener against UCSB and gave up two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

The Lady Toppers made a late surge in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2 but surrendered the winning run to UCSB in the bottom of the inning with two outs.

“We did a good job there, but we didn’t get that last out,” Perry said. “We just have to learn how to slam the door shut.”

WKU had just five hits in the first game, two from freshman shortstop Amanda Thomas.

Sophomore pitcher Kim Wagner gave up three earned runs on eight hits and took the loss for the Lady Toppers.

After giving up a walk in the first inning of the second game against Seattle, Sulaski was perfect the rest of the way, striking out four batters in seven innings.

Perry praised both pitchers and said she planned in advance to switch to Sulaski for the second game.

“Wagner did a good job. We have four pitchers, and we throw them in different situations,” Perry said. “Generally, Wagner throws the first game, and Mallorie throws the second game, and they both did a good job today.

“We have a good staff, so we rarely throw the same person over and over.”

WKU plays both UCSB and Seattle again Saturday at 1:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.

Perry said Friday showed that the team’s aggressiveness early in games will be important for the Lady Toppers moving forward.

“We talked about and are continuing to talk about being ready from the first pitch and being the aggressor instead of waiting back to see what happens and then trying to play ball,” she said. “With a young team, that’s something we’ll have to emphasize throughout the year.”