MIAMI, Fla. – For the second straight game, Louisiana Tech held a one-run lead but FIU scored four unanswered runs to down the Lady Techsters 4-1 in the series finale at Felsberg Field Saturday afternoon.
The loss completed the sweep for the Panthers (43-12, 17-6) marking the first time in 13 Conference USA series that LA Tech has been swept by a league foe. The loss also prevented Tech from earning a top two seed in the upcoming C-USA Tournament in Hattiesburg next week as FIU will join regular season champion Marshall in the top two spots.
Tech (33-21, 16-8 CUSA) will be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed depending on the outcome of Sunday’s finale between Florida Atlantic and UTEP in El Paso. An FAU win slides Tech to the No. 4 seed while an UTEP wins gives the Lady Techsters the No. 3 seed.
FIU pitcher Shannon Saile was dominating in the circle for the second straight day against LA Tech, holding the Lady Techsters to only one run on three hits while striking out nine.
Tech took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Pauline Tufi doubled to right center and then with two outs, Morgan Turkoly tripled off the top of the wall in centerfield, scoring Tufi.
Lady Techster starter Bailey Allen cruised through the first three innings before some wildness in the fourth allowed FIU to tie it up. The Panthers loaded the bases on a single and two hit batters as Krystal De La Cruz came on in relief. De La Cruz allowed the tying run to score on a sacrifice fly before striking out the final batter to end the inning.
De La Cruz then had control issues to start the fifth inning. After walking the eight-hole hitter, De La Cruz fell behind the nine hole hitter 3-1 before surrendering a single. Tech went to the bull pen again, calling on freshman Jenny Chapman.
After a sac bunt moved the runners to second and third, Ashley Leon lined a single off the glove of Tech first baseman Pauline Tufi, scoring the go ahead run. Tech then walked Stephanie Texiera intentionally to load the bases for Dani Mowry who hit a sac fly, scoring the second run of the inning and upping the advantage to 3-1.
FIU added a run in the sixth inning to up the lead to 4-1. Tech had a chance in the top of the seventh inning as Taria Page singled and Berkley Calapp walked to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs in the form of Tufi. However, Saile recorded her ninth strikeout of the game to seal the victory.
Tech will open play in the Conference USA Tournament Wednesday afternoon.