WKU softball an inning away from undefeated to start fall season

Brad Stephens

One bad inning was all it took to cost the WKU softball team on Sunday in a 3-1 loss against Louisville.

The Lady Cards opened the game by scoring three runs in the first inning off WKU pitcher Dana Nathanson.

The lead proved plenty, as Louisville pitching held the Lady Toppers to no earned runs and two hits the entire game.

Head coach Tyra Perry said even though Louisville’s pitching was tough, most of the problem was that the Lady Toppers “kept beating ourselves.”

WKU was held hitless until the sixth, when Karavin Dew dribbled an infield single down the third base line.

“I felt like we were seeing the ball, but we had a few mechanical issues,” Dew said. “Still, I feel like we did pretty well.”

The lack of offensive output may be troubling for the Lady Toppers, considering the team’s talent that graduated in the spring.

WKU lost offensive leaders Lindsay Antone, Kelsey McCauley and Ashley Contreras from last season’s team.

“We feel more like a junior college team,” Perry said. “We have so many young players, and even some of our older ones haven’t played very much.

“Mallorie Sulaski and Ciara Garcia had a great freshman campaign, so we’ll need them to continue growing. For our newcomers, Amanda Thomas, Megan Johnson, and Kelsie Mattox all have potential to do a good job.”

The Louisville game was the nightcap of a tripleheader billed as the first of two Topper Fall Classics.

WKU’s fall season consists of eight games and gives the team a chance to play with its newcomers for the first time.

In the first game, the Lady Toppers notched a 2-1 win in 10 innings over Lindsey Wilson thanks to a walk-off home run from junior infielder Amanda Walden.

In the second game, WKU shut out Campbellsville, 6-0, behind a no-hit effort from pitchers Sulaski and Brittanie Albright.

Perry said she expects Sulaski, who finished her freshman year with a 3.63 earned run average, to dominate opposing hitters this season.

“Even though Mallorie’s young, she plays like an experienced player,” Perry said. “She’s added some pitches to her repertoire and improved some of her other pitches.”

Sulaski said she enjoyed the atmosphere of fall games when compared to the pressure of the regular season.

There are no stats or win-loss records, so it’s a lot more relaxing,” she said. “We’re able to work on some things and get are team together for spring.

The Lady Toppers will take the field again next Saturday and Sunday for a tournament in Knoxville, Tenn.

WKU then concludes its fall season with a home doubleheader Oct. 16.