SOFTBALL: Tops defeat Lady Bison at home

Wes Watt

Western is heading to the bayou to face its toughest opponent of the season in Louisiana-Lafayette.

But before it could depart, it had to take on the Lady Bison of Lipscomb.

The Hilltoppers won both games in the doubleheader. Western took the first game 5-0 and grabbed the second 2-0.

The sweep, which extended Western’s winning streak to five, wasn’t the team’s best performance, especially heading into a high caliber game against the No. 10 Lady Cajuns.

“The whole point of mid-week games are to get better,” sophomore shortstop Bailey Rolfs said. “I don’t think we got any better, but I don’t think we got any worse. I just think we were a little bit lackadaisical. We take weekend games a lot more seriously than mid-week games.”

The Topper offense got only 14 total hits off of pitchers that have a combined 17-32 record.

Western’s offense, which has had some consistency problems all year, will have its hands full against junior ULL pitcher Brooke Mitchell.

“We have some flaws in our swing and against average pitching we get away with it,” coach Leslie Phelan said. “Against the better pitching we don’t. Now our team knows it has that, they have to focus on getting good pitches against Brooke Mitchell.”

Mitchell’s resume is anything but average. And so is the Lady Cajuns’.

Lafayette has won every Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament championship since the conference added softball in 2000.

ULL has been ranked as high as No. 6 this season, but the real intimidation is the home field advantage. The Lady Cajuns are known for some of the most heckling fans in college softball.

“I wouldn’t say intimidation, but I would maybe inspiration,” Rolfs said. “A split with them would be amazing for us. We can’t get hurt this week, they are the ones fighting for something.”

While the offense might have some troubles with ULL’s pitching, the Hilltoppers have some pitching of their own.

Senior Allison Silver has pitched nine shutouts to throw her way to a 17-9 record. And sophomore Adrienne Lathrop has pitched seven shutouts, including three in her current six-game win streak to post a 14-7 record on the year.

The Toppers’ steamrolling momentum will also help give the team confidence. Western has won 10 of its last 12 games.

Also Western is the only SBC team to beat the Lady Cajuns on their home field. And the Toppers were able to steal a victory against the Lady Cajuns last season in Bowling Green – against Brooke Mitchell.

Reach Wes Watt at [email protected]