LAFAYETTE, La.— The No. 4 seed Western Kentucky University softball team had its 2014 season come to an end after No. 6 seed ULM (25-26) took an 8-1 win in Friday’s first elimination game of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament at Lamson Park.
The Lady Toppers complete their 2014 campaign at 33-24-1 and an 11-10 mark in its final season as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. WKU recorded its 10th 30-win season while finishing as a top-four team in the league for the eighth time in program history. The loss marked the end of five seniors’ careers, as Tiffany Gooch, Kelsie Mattox, Emily Rousseau, Amanda Thomas and Olivia Watkins.
Freshman India Steward led the team at the plate with two hits while junior Preslie Cruce had a trio of walks and was hit by pitch to reach in each of her plate appearances. The Warhawks were led in batting by Faith Bohack and Rochelle Roberts, as each had two hits in the contest.
Rousseau (18-18) pitched the first 4.1 innings, giving up seven hits and six runs with four being earned. Rousseau walked one while striking out two before freshman Hannah Miniard finished the game with one hit, two runs and four walks in her line. ULM’s Samantha Hamby (17-16) went the distance, allowing four hits and one run while walking five with two strikeouts.
WKU took the first lead of the game with a lone run in the top third. Steward led off with a single before Cruce was hit by pitch for the 24th time this season. A fielder’s choice left third base open for junior Shawna Sadler to load the bases with a walk. Sophomore Brooke Holloway was then walked with two outs to bring in Cruce.
ULM took over the lead in the bottom fourth after Bohack shot a two-run home run over the left field fence.
The Warhawks’ lead increased to 6-1 in the fifth after a double and single led off the frame before a missed tag at the plate allowed the first run in. With runners in scoring position, a fielding error on Thomas brought in a score before Hollie Letourneau put a RBI single to left field. With bases loaded, Watkins made a tough stop at second to get the runner, but the fielder’s choice let the runner add the fourth run of the frame.
A RBI single from Roberts in the sixth to center field brought in another two runs to seal the ULM win at 8-1.
For more information on WKU softball, visit WKUSports.com or follow the team on Twitter via @WKUSoftball.