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Techsters try to surf past Hawaii

April 13, 2012

 

Junior pitcher Michelle Jones knocked off New Mexico State in one of the Techsters’ three victories in last weekends series sweep. Tech returns to action at 11 p.m. CST Friday against Hawaii. –Photo by Sumeet Shrestha

REINA J. KEMPT
Associate Sports Editor

 

The Lady Techsters softball squad has started to turn heads as they are now tied for third in the Western Athletic Conference and are currently on a three-game winning streak in conference play. A win against No. 14 Hawaii may be the confidence booster needed to finish conference strong.

 

The Techsters will travel to Hawaii to play a three-game stretch starting at 11 p.m. CST on Friday and continuing Saturday at 7 p.m. CST and 9 p.m. CST respectively.

 

Though the softball team will head to the sandy shores of Hawaii, they won’t be able to take a vacation due to the importance of this series. Upperclassmen like Janna Frandrup, a junior infielder, said she remembers beating them on the Lady Techster Softball Complex last spring and feels like they can pull another upset.

 

“Last year we took one win from them and it felt amazing,” Frandrup said. “It was the best feeling in the world knowing they went to the World Series, so taking the win would definitely boost our confidence.”

 

After downing the defending conference champions New Mexico State 6-2 last Friday and finishing them off in a doubleheader on Saturday, the Techsters look to continue their winning streak against a tough Hawaii team.

 

Head coach Sarah Dawson said their offense has to be precise in order to match the offense of Hawaii. Tech’s current team batting average is .243 while Hawaii’s is .277. Tech will have to focus on getting more hits. Junior infielder Melanie Goff, sophomore outfielder Erin Kipp and Frandrup are the three players on Tech’s squad with a batting average over .300, and they will need to step up and play their best games in order to come out on top.

 

“Their (Hawaii) biggest thing is their offense and they get homeruns so we need to make them chase the ball,” Dawson said. “They are the type of team to chase the ball and get ground outs or pop ups is what we need to win against them.”

 

To be solid defensively, junior pitcher Michelle Jones will need to head into the Hawaii games with confidence, as she will be throwing against some of the top offensive Hawaii players like Jessica Iwata, Leisha Li`ili`i and Sarah Robinson.

 

Dawson said she sees the competitiveness in her players when playing a team like Hawaii. Having a fierce match against them every year gives Dawson the edge on knowing what to expect from this Hawaii squad, she said.

 

“Every game starts at zero-zero no matter who we play,” Dawson said. “Our kids get excited to play them. We know their pitcher’s tendencies so we gear our offensive workouts for the type of pitching we will see. So we just have to go out there and play the game.”

 

As Dawson stresses the importance of offense in this game, she said she will look toward junior transfer Goff to be a huge factor for them. This is just Goff’s first year at Tech, having moved from Grossmont College in California but she currently has the highest batting average at .388.

 

Goff said she is aware that though she is a newcomer, she is still a leader on this team. Keeping the underclassmen leveled can be difficult to do in big situations like this but Goff has stepped up to the plate.

 

“I just tell the freshmen not to worry about it,” Goff said. “When you’re out on the field, it’s to have fun. When you’re at the plate, it’s just you and the pitcher.”

 

She said she’s excited to play against a nationally-ranked team.

 

“Every time we’ve played a nationally-ranked team, we have come out stronger,” Goff said. “I feel like we come out with a different intensity when we play against a top team.”

 

She said intensity is essential in any sport in order to succeed and the Techsters are looking to turn up the heat against an equally hot Hawaii.

 

The three-game series against Hawaii will be available to watch on Gametracker for the Techsters fans who would like to see these two teams battle.

 

Email comments to rjk007@latech.edu.

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