SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Bailee Baldwin’s two-run home run capped a three-run second and lifted UTSA to a 4-2 win over Louisiana Tech in Sunday’s series finale at Roadrunner Field.
UTSA won two of the three games, marking just the second Conference USA series that LA Tech has lost in the last 11. The loss dropped Tech to 30-18 on the year, 13-5 in C-USA play while UTSA improved to 19-28 overall, 8-10 in league action.
“This weekend our pitchers pitched well enough for us to win,” said Tech coach Mark Montgomery. “We simply didn’t provide enough support offensively nor defensively. We made way too many uncharacteristic mistakes in the field, both mentally and physically. At the plate, we didn’t trust the adjustments that we asked them to make against (Lizzy) Fox. We got too big with our swings and it played into her game.
“I’m disappointed in our performance. I know the players are disappointed as well. We are way too talented to not perform up to our abilities. We have four straight home games this week and we are in a battle as we come down the stretch. We still control a lot of our own destiny, but we have to get back to playing like we are capable of playing.”
Tech jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Jazlyn Crowder and Morgan Turkoly each singled and Pauline Tufi’s one-out single to right field plate Crowder, giving the Lady Techsters the advantage. With two outs and runners on second and third, Katie Smith hit a soft liner to shallow left field that UTSA outfielder Lindsey Stewart made a diving catch to save two runs.
UTSA responded in the bottom of the first inning thanks to some shaky defense from LA Tech, tying the game at 1-1 off Lady Techster starter Jenny Chapman.
“When we got runners on base we were not successful at getting them in,” said sophomore Berkley Calapp. “Our defense did not have our pitchers backs this weekend. Our pitchers worked really hard for us, but we let them down both offensively and defensively.”
The Roadrunners added to their lead in the second inning. Back-to-back bloop hits to the outfield plated a run and then with two outs, Baldwin launched her 10thhome run of the season deep over the right field fence to make it 4-1.
“I could have executed a few pitches better,” said Chapman. “We didn’t play up to our level of talent this weekend.”
Tech struggled offensively in innings two through four as Fox retired nine straight batters after Karlee Jensen led the top of the second off with a single.
“We didn’t trust the process and plan we had prepared for today,” said senior Natalie Moran. “Instead we hoped we would get a different outcome with the same approach each at bat. We didn’t all buy in to the plan.”
Tech finally scratched for a second run in the top of the fifth inning. Tori Charters registered a one-out triple to left field and with two outs, Turkoly drove her home with a line drive single through the left side of the infield. Tech trailed 4-2.
“I think we played for ourselves, felt sorry for ourselves when we failed and just didn’t trust the game plan,” said Katie Smith.
Krystal De La Cruz came on in relief for Tech in the bottom of the fourth inning and kept UTSA at bay, allowing only two hits over the final 3.0 innings of action while recording a pair of strikeouts.
“I think the reason we lost this weekend was because we were trying to do too much in big moments,” said freshman Marilyn Rizzato. “With runners on base I think we were trying to be heroes rather than getting the next person an at bat. Our pitchers felt they needed to do too much because they didn’t have sound defense behind them. This all goes back to trusting your teammates and having the right attitude.”
Rizzato recorded a one-out single in the top of the sixth inning but another great defensive play by UTSA saved a run as Roadrunner right fielder Taylor Oberg ran down Jessica Ball’s deep fly ball down the right field line for the final out.
Fox retired Tech in order in the seventh to seal the win.
Offensively, Tech was led by Turkoly (2-3, RBI), Crowder (1-4, run), Tufi (1-3, RBI), Rizzato (1-1), Jensen (1-2), and Charters (1-3, run).
Tech returns to action Wednesday when it hosts ULM.