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Techsters softball shakes off rough start

February 21, 2014

 

Paul Harris
Staff Reporter

 

Despite a 2-7 start on the year, the Lady Techsters softball team has shown promising efforts.

 

In last week’s Texas Classic in Austin, Texas, the Bulldogs fell 1-0 to the Kentucky Wildcats, ranked seventh in the nation, on the tournament’s opening day.

 

Bianca Duran pitched four innings giving up the only run scored in the matchup. She allowed four hits with no walks and two strikeouts on the day. Pauline Tufi came in relief allowing only one hit in her day’s work.

 

“We came into the weekend really excited and motivated to not only hang with, but potentially beat, Kentucky,” junior outfielder Katelynn Hill said. “They’re one of the hottest teams in the country, but the fact that we competed heavily in both games just reinforced our beliefs in what this team is capable of.”

 

Despite the pitching performances by Duran and Tufi, Tech failed to record a hit in the contest ultimately resulting in the loss. Kentucky scored the lone run of the game in the bottom of the third inning and it proved enough.

 

“Our approach was great,” head coach Mark Montgomery said.

 

“Our energy and focus were great. We gave ourselves a chance. I told them that this type of effort was good enough to beat anyone in Conference USA. That’s what we need to work toward on a more consistent basis.”

 

Following the shortcoming against Kentucky,Tech fell 7-2 against Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, the defending Summit League Champions. The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth inning until IPFW scored five runs with two outs.

 

The Techsters took on Kentucky again in the tournament on day two, but the Wildcats held on to outlast Tech 6-3. Tech had its strongest performance of the tournament at the plate, connecting for nine hits on the day.

 

“I can’t tell you how proud I was of our effort against Kentucky,” Montgomery said. “We outhit one of the top teams in the country and we did it against their ace.”

 

Tech closed a four-run gap scoring three runs in the top of the sixth to bring the game within one, but it wasn’t enough.

 

Tech took on 16th ranked Texas for the second game of the day, jumping out to early one run lead in its first at bat, but an explosive answering from the Longhorns proved too much. Texas answered back with five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Tech never caught up, falling 7-2.

 

“From the beginning of practice in January, we’ve made it a team motto that we will fight from first to last pitch,” Hill said. “This team has tons of fight in it, and I can’t wait to see what kind of comeback wins we have waiting for us this season.”

 

The Techsters wrapped the weekend tournament up with another loss to IPFW. A pair of Tech miscues in the bottom of the third allowed IPFW to put four runs on the board. IPFW won the game 5-3.

 

“We were completely capable of beating every team we played this last weekend, but it was the little things that beat us,” junior infielder Hailey Winter said.

 

“Ultimately we beat ourselves with the mental mistakes. At practice this week I think we will work on our focus, once we get that down and under control we will be unstoppable.”

 

Tech softball opened its season hosting the Lady Techster’s Invitational in Ruston two weeks ago. The Lady Techsters won two of the four games played, notching wins over Tennessee-Martin and St. Louis.

 

Tufi said Tech softball is a dynamite team that is full of energy.

 

“We have so much fight, we have so much heart, and we never give up,” Tufi said. “Deep down in everyone is a warrior and we are all fighting the battle together as one.”

 

Email comments to phh007@latech.edu.

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