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Lady Techsters dominate in triple-game series

April 12, 2018

 

MORGAN BERNARD

Managing Editor | mrb056@latech.edu

 

Junior outfielder Morgan Turkoly has reached base safely in 22 straight games and leads al starters in on-base percentage at .508. – Photo by Donny Crowe

 

The Lady Techsters swept the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles off their feet Easter weekend after defeating them in all three games of a Conference USA series hosted by Louisiana Tech at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.

 

Two of the games were held Friday, March 30, Tech winning 4-1 and 4-3. The series finale on Saturday, March 31 also concluded with a Lady Techster win at 8-4.

 

Game one began with a Southern Mississippi lead of 1-0 in the top of the second inning after a two-out RBI double by USM right fielder Caitlyn Aldous. In the bottom of the third, Tech tied the game after senior Katie Smith’s bunt brought in their first run. Then, junior Taria Page hit a single to center-field, bringing in junior Morgan Turkoly for Tech’s second run.

 

Junior Preslee Gallaway showed off her pitching skills by retiring nine USM batters consecutively in the third, fourth and fifth innings, keeping the Lady Techsters ahead. In the bottom of the sixth, junior Jazlyn Crowder brought in a two-run homerun and a 4-1 lead, winning the first game.

 

In game two of the series, Tech was quickly brought down by USM. In the second inning, two runs were scored by the Golden Eagles due to a throwing error by sophomore Marilyn Rizzato, and a third run was made later in the fifth.

 

However, in the bottom of the fifth, Tech bounced back and tied the game 3-3. Sophomore Kimmie Atienza managed a two-out walk against USM starter Samantha Robles and scored on Turkoly’s RBI double. Senior Katie Smith then brought in Turkoly with a hit down center-field, scoring run three for the Lady Techsters. In the bottom of the sixth, a missed ball by USM catcher Samantha Papp ended with runners on first and third for Tech. Rizzato came in with a bunt, bringing in senior Ali Galaz for Tech’s fourth and final run.

 

After defeating USM (14-25, 4-8) in the first two games, Tech (19-17, 7-5 C-USA) managed yet another win in the third and final game of the C-USA series. In the bottom of the first, Tech scored two runs on an RBI single by Smith. A third run was made by the Lady Techsters in the bottom of the second as senior Karlee Jensen was brought in from third.

 

Tech’s starting pitcher, senior Bailey Allen, managed to stay strong in the first three innings, only being defeated by the Golden Eagles when USM third baseman Alyssa Davis hit a two-run homerun, bringing the score to 3-2.

 

In the bottom of the fourth, Page scored a fourth run for Tech, hitting a two-out solo home run. Then, in the top of the fifth, USM’s Samantha Papp brought the game to a 4-4 tie with a two-run hit. Tech responded again in the bottom of the fifth, finishing the inning with a 7-4 score. Gallaway came out on top in pitching, retiring seven batters in a row, five by strikeout. In the bottom of the sixth, an RBI double hit by Jensen brought in freshman Bayli Simon to finish the game at 8-4.

 

Head coach Mark Montgomery said he was pleased with the series wins but still sees the team has room for improvements.

 

“I was proud of how we responded,” Montgomery said. “We had some really great moments in the wins. We still have some mediocre moments too. I’m going to continue to push them to be the team I know we can be. We still haven’t played up to our capability, not as consistently as what we need to do.”

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