MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Belmont used a four-run fifth inning to defeat Louisiana Tech 4-2 Sunday in the finale of the Blue City Classic hosted by the Memphis Tigers.
Tech (14-8) took a 2-0 lead into the top of the fifth inning with Lady Techster starter Preslee Gallaway in cruise control. Gallaway allowed only one hit through the first four frames and struck out two of the first three batters she faced in the fifth before the Bruins started blooping and bleeding the Techsters to a slow death.
With two outs and a runner on first base, Belmont recorded back to back seeing-eye singles through the five-six hole to load the bases – only the third and fourth hits of the game. A flare to left field fell for a single and a misplay on the ball allowed a second run to score to tie the game at 2-2.
Gallaway then walked the next batter to load the bases again. Freshman Jenny Chapman then entered the game but promptly surrendered consecutive singles through the five-six hole to plate two more runs, giving Belmont a 4-2 advantage.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the seventh. Karlee Jensen led the frame off with a single and one out later, pinch hitter Jessica Ball walked bringing the game-winning run to the plate in the form of Pauline Tufi. The senior first baseman appeared to have come through, crushing a pitch deep to left field. However, strong winds which blew straight in all day, knocked the ball down as the Bruins left fielder made the catch up against the fence for the second out.
With the Techsters down to their final out, sophomore cleanup hitter Taria Page stepped to the plate. Page hammered a 1-1 pitch high and deep to left field that once again appeared to have given the Lady Techsters the win. However, the wind took affect again, as the Belmont outfielder recorded the final out with her back against the fence.
“I got all of it,” said Page. “I thought it was gone. I got it all.”
Neither offense did much damage early. Gallaway and Belmont starter Brooklin Lee matched each other strikeout for strikeout. Tech was the first to strike blood as Jazlyn Crowder hit a line drive double to left centerfield and with two outs, scored on a throwing error by the Belmont second baseman.
Tech increased its lead in the fourth. Freshman catcher Marilyn Rizzato, who had just missed on a two-run home run in the second inning on a ball that hooked foul at the last moment, drilled a pitch deep over the left centerfield fence for her third home run of the season.
Gallaway (6-5) took the loss, allowing four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Offensively, Tech recorded only five hits – one each by Crowder, Tufi, Rizzato, Katie Smith and Jensen.
The Lady Techsters will open Conference USA play Friday at home vs. Charlotte.