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Tech wins Senior Day rubber match

May 3, 2018

Seniors Karlee Jensen (far left), Kassie Harris (left), Bailey Allen (center), Katie Smith (right) and Ali Galaz (far right) during senior day ceremonies. – Photo by Donny Crowe

 

ANDREW BELL

Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

The Louisiana Tech softball team had a picture-perfect ending to Senior Day with a rubber match victory against UAB to improve their home record to an impressive 17-3 and strengthen their hold on the first-place throne of the Conference USA.

 

Despite a slow start, the Lady Techsters (30-18, 15-6) slayed the Blazers (20-28-1,11-6-1) by a score of 7-1 April 22, in a game three rubber match to take the series away from the second ranked team in the C-USA.

 

After a first inning dominated by UAB offensively and defensively, Tech absolutely took control in the following innings by catching fire from the plate in the third, fourth and fifth innings and getting a dominant performance from junior pitcher Preslee Gallaway after the first inning.

 

“Senior Day’s always filled with emotion, so any time you can have the happy ending attached to it, it certainly helps,” Tech head coach Mark Montgomery said. “But (this) was a big series for us. We needed to win this series to maintain first place and be in the driver’s seat going forward and win the Conference USA regular season title.”

 

Tech has five graduating seniors who played their final games at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.

 

A couple of those seniors who stood out included infielder Karlee Jensen, who hit a double and had two RBIs and right fielder Ali Galaz, who had an RBI and made a spectacular diving catch in right field, most likely preventing a run or two. Senior shortstop Katie Smith went 0-for-1 from the plate but was walked twice.

 

Tech was climbing uphill after a tough first inning in which Gallaway gave up two doubles and a run. Luckily for her, Galaz’s previously mentioned diving play saved what could have been two more runs for UAB and Gallaway got out of the inning with only one run earned and two hits. The batting lineup also struggled early, not recording a base hit until the bottom of the third inning. But when it rained, it poured for UAB’s pitching staff, as their starting pitcher Megan Smith allowed two earned runs and their relief pitcher Claire Blount allowed five in the contest.

 

“Preslee made a couple of mistake pitches both when she was up in the count 1-2 and 0-2 and I called timeout to state the obvious to her, which she knew as well,” Montgomery said. “Then she got a little fired up and got out of that inning, and from that point on it was just a matter of seeing the (UAB) pitcher for a while and making adjustments.”

 

Tech will head to NSU and will then play a two-game series against Utah State before facing off with UTEP (18-28, 7-11) in El Paso, Texas May 5-6, in what will be their final conference series of the season.

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