TROY, Ala. — Behind a two-hit pitching performance from senior Mallorie Sulaski, the top-seeded Western Kentucky University softball team (40-14) advances in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament with a 3-1 win over fourth-seeded North Texas (28-23) Thursday afternoon at the Troy Softball Complex.
With the win, the Lady Toppers recorded their first 40-win season in program history while extending their winning streak to eight-straight games.
Sulaski (12-7) held the Mean Green to no baserunners until the team’s first hit of a blooper single to right center in the fifth inning, but runner Jordan Terry would not advance past first. The Lakewood, Colo., native continued through her pitching gem until a two-out home run by Taylor Schoblocher in the bottom seventh gave North Texas its second hit and only run of the contest. Sulaski struck out two batters.
North Texas’s Ashley Kirk (15-7) pitched all seven innings, allowing seven hits with two earned runs, two walks and striking out eight.
After placing a runner on base in each of the first four innings with no runs produced, WKU made its way to the scoreboard in the fifth with a RBI single by sophomore Preslie Cruce to score fellow classmate Shawna Sadler after she reached on a walk. Cruce scored in the next at-bat, as the speedy junior Olivia Watkins powered a double in left field, nearly catching lead-runner Cruce in between second and third base, but a throwing error from North Texas’ Lesley Hirsch let each runner advance, including Cruce to home to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
In the next inning, senior Katrina Metoyer came back from a 0-2 count to battle off two balls and three foul balls for her seventh home run of the season and give WKU the 3-0 advantage. Sulaski sat down the first two batters of the bottom seventh inning before the Mean Green avoided the shutout with their own home run.