SOFTBALL: Lady Tops finish weekend 2-2

Wes Watt

Two hits. One walk. Zero runs.

Those numbers sum up the offensive performance for the Lady Topper softball team in a 3-0 loss to No. 19 Iowa in the opening game in the Red and Black Tournament in Louisville.

The team battled offensive problems all Saturday with losses to Iowa and Louisville. But the team’s offense exploded on Sunday and quickly rebounded with a two game sweep of Toledo to finish the weekend 2-2.

Coach Leslie Phelan attributed the team’s whiffing to Iowa’s freshman pitcher Ali Arnold. Arnold presented problems not only for Western, but for Louisville as well, holding them to only three hits.

“She threw very well and kept us off balance,” Phelan said. “We got beat by a good team.”

Western was able to hold last year’s Big Ten Champion to only one run through five innings, but the lack of offense caught up with the Lady Toppers, as sophomore pitcher Adrienne Lathrop couldn’t hold off the Hawkeyes any longer and gave up two runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.

The offensive woes continued when the team faced Louisville in the second game on Saturday. Western was unable to break the scoring drought by getting shutout again.

With the game scoreless and two on and two out, in the bottom of the third, senior pitcher Allison Silver hit Hawkeye batter Candi Hicks. The walk loaded the bases and created trouble for the Toppers.

Silver gave up a two-run single immediately following the walk. The two runs would be all they would need as the Cardinals walked away to a 2-0 win.

“The difference was when they hit the ball, it went through the infield,” Phelan said. “They got the hit when they needed to and that was the difference.”

From Saturday to Sunday was as different as Rhode Island and Alaska for the Lady Topper’s offense. On Sunday the team put together a Tiger Woods-like performance, teeing off on the Toledo Rockets for a 11-7 victory.

Senior first baseman Sam Hansen led the team with two hits, a home run, three runs and four RBI. Hansen was just one of five players to get multiple hits.

“Something clicked and I just saw the pitches really well,” Hansen said.

The duo of senior catcher Riley Garcia and junior infielder Shelly Floyd combined for four hits and three RBI.

Garcia got the honor of hitting her first career home run. The ball sailed over the 235 foot wall to give Garcia a three-run shot that she will not soon forget.

“I was really excited,” Garcia said. “I was still in shock running the bases.”

Western finished Sunday with a second game against the Rockets which the Lady Toppers took a 7-1 victory to improve to 8-2 on the year.

The team will host its first tournament of the season Friday at 6 p.m. in the Hilltopper Spring Classic against Southeast Missouri State. Other teams competing in the event are Illinois State and Belmont.

Reach Wes Watt at [email protected]