MIAMI – Stephanie Texiera hit three home runs, including the game-winning three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning of the second game, to lead FIU to a Conference USA doubleheader sweep over Louisiana Tech Friday at Felsberg Field.
FIU defeated LA Tech 4-0 behind a 1-hit performance by Golden Panthers freshman Shannon Saile in the first game. The Panthers won game two 6-3 behind two home runs from Texiera.
With the wins, FIU (42-12, 16-6) moved past Louisiana Tech (33-20, 16-7) in the Conference USA seeding for the upcoming league tournament in Hattiesburg. However, a LA Tech win in the series finale set for Saturday at 11 a.m. CT would give the Lady Techsters the No. 2 seed. A loss by LA Tech would leave them as either the No.3 or No. 4 seed depending on the outcome of the Florida Atlantic at UTEP series.
Game 1: FIU 4, LA Tech 0
Shannon Saile was the story of the first game of the day as the FIU freshman tossed a one-hit complete game shutout in the 4-0 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Saile recorded eight strikeouts while allowing only a single by Morgan Turkoly in the third inning while also scattering three walks.
Tech starter Preslee Gallaway (14-12) was solid in the circle, but couldn’t match Saile pitch for pitch as she allowed four runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out seven in 6.0 innings of action.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the third, Gallaway surrendered a two-run home run to Texiera on a 1-2 pitch that caught the middle of the plate. Gallaway then settled down until the bottom of the sixth inning when FIU added two runs on three hits to increase the lead to 4-0.
Saile issued a two-out walk in the top of the seventh inning but got the final out to preserve the win.
One of the big stories of the game was the loss of Tech shortstop Katie Smith in the fourth inning. Smith was injured when she collided with the third base umpire on a play in the five-six hole. Smith left the game and did not play the rest of the day.
Game 2: FIU 6, LA Tech 3
Ali Galaz hit a two-run home run and Karlee Jensen dropped a suicide squeeze bunt to score Berkley Calapp for the go-ahead run in the fifth, but Stephanie Texiera blasted a three-run home run off Tech reliever Jenny Chapman in the bottom of the sixth to give FIU the win.
Tech trailed 1-0 on a two-out RBI by FIU in the bottom of the second inning before Galaz launched a two-out, two-run blast over the left centerfield wall in the fourth to give the Lady Techsters the lead. Galaz’s shot game after FIU starter Megan Kugelman walked Taria Page with two outs.
Texiera answered in the bottom of the fourth inning as she crushed the first pitch she saw off Tech starter Krystal De La Cruz deep over the left field fence, tying the game at 2-2.
Tech responded in the fifth. Calapp tripled to right field with one out and then scored on a suicide squeeze by Jensen as the Lady Techsters took their second one-run lead.
FIU opened the bottom of the sixth with a line drive single by Jackie Schoff. Then Ashley Leon laid down a sacrifice bunt that LA Tech wasn’t able to make the play on, putting runners on first and second with no outs.
Chapman came on in relief of De La Cruz to face Texiera, who promptly drove the first pitch she saw deep over the left field wall for her third home run of the day. FIU added a fourth run in the frame to take a 6-3 lead.
Galaz singled up the middle to start the seventh, forcing FIU to go to Saile in relief. Saile promptly struck out three straight batters to pick up the save.