SOFTBALL: Desert trip redeems Lady Tops

Wes Watt

Western’s softball team had to go into the desert to face New Mexico State University this past weekend. The Hilltoppers went into the series as dry as the bare desert land itself losing 12 of their last 20 games.

But the Hilltoppers came out of Las Cruces, N.M., looking like a moist meadow just after a spring rain shower.

The team’s offense really sprouted into bloom to give Western one of its best offensive performances of the season.

The two-day series began with Western a miserable 1-3 in the Sun Belt Conference and ended with the team returning to Bowling Green a respectful 5-3 record.

“We had a lot to prove after a disappointing opening weekend,” coach Leslie Phelan said. “We still need to worry about doing things right.”

Western was able to sweep its first ever SBC series. With scores of 5-1 and 8-3 on Friday and 6-0 and 6-2 on Sunday.

The Hilltoppers made the Aggies look like the coyote chasing the roadrunner. And just like in the cartoon, Western was able to out run the Aggies by out hitting NMSU 41-19 for the weekend.

The sudden burst of offense is due mostly to the work spent during practice.

Batting cages have been busy during Hilltopper practice time as of late. Because of the inconsistency of the offense, Western has been spending most of its practice time working on its hitting technique.

The extra time finally paid off as Western found itself making more and more contact with the ball over the past couple of weeks, and the work really showed up against NMSU.

“Anytime you focus on one spot a lot during practice it’s going to help,” senior catcher Riley Garcia said. “It was really nice to come out and put the bats together. It’s been something we’ve needed for quite awhile.”

Garcia increased her hitting streak to nine games. Her weekend consisted of eight hits and four RBI, with a home run in the first game.

Garcia went 6-for-7 last week in the series against Kentucky. And with an outstanding performance this weekend, she has become a very consistent weapon.

“This week has been an outstanding weekend for her,” Phelan said. “She is really swinging well.”

Junior second baseman Shelly Floyd also contributed to Western’s offense. Floyd busted out three hits and five RBI in game two on Friday.

Western backed its great offensive performance with solid pitching performances from senior Allison Silver and sophomore Adrienne Lathrop.

Silver took two wins and improved to 15-8 on the year. Lathrop won both of her games improving to 11-7.

Western returns to action at home tomorrow in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.

Reach Wes Watt at [email protected]