BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Preslee Gallaway and Krystal De La Cruz each tossed complete-game shutouts leading the Lady Techsters to a Saturday Conference USA sweep over UAB at Mary Bowers Field.
Gallaway pitched seven scoreless innings in game one while Ali Galaz and Marilyn Rizzato hit home runs to lead LA Tech to a 5-0 win. De La Cruz pitched nine scoreless innings in the night cap and Morgan Turkoly’s solo home run in the top of the ninth was the difference in a 1-0 extra inning victory for the Lady Techsters.
Tech has now recorded 14 shutouts this season, the most by a Lady Techsters team since the 1999 team totaled 20 shutouts. Lady Techsters pitchers have now tossed 21 straight scoreless innings.
Game 1: LA Tech 5, UAB 0
Preslee Gallaway (11-9) picked up her fourth shutout in Conference USA action, tossing seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory over the Blazers. The sophomore allowed just five hits and no walks while striking out seven in the win.
Gallaway scattered four singles and a double by Blazers batters and had only one inning where she allowed multiple runners on the bases.
Tech (25-14, 8-3 C-USA) made the most of its seven hits in the game against UAB pitcher Claire Blount, including two doubles and two home runs.
Junior shortstop Katie Smith opened the top of the third inning with a double down the left field line. With two outs and Smith on third base, Jazlyn Crowder hit a hard ground ball to third base that Dani Fernandez fielded but threw away at first base, allowing Smith to score. Tech led 1-0.
The game remained that way until the bottom of the fifth inning. A pair of hits by the Blazers against Gallaway put runners on first and third with no outs for UAB leadoff hitter Destini England. It appeared as if England tied the game at 1-1 on a sacrifice fly to left field, but England was called out for stepping on the plate when she made contact with the pitch and the runners were sent back to first and third.
Gallaway then struck out Fernandez looking for the final out of the inning, keeping the 1-0 LA Tech lead intact.
In the top of the sixth inning, Tech responded by adding three runs. Ali Galaz led the inning off with her second home run of the season – a solo shot over the left centerfield fence – upping the Tech lead to 2-0. Morgan Turkoly followed with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball and then scored on Pauline Tufi’s sacrifice fly. With Tech leading 3-0, Marilyn Rizzato finished the scoring with her fourth home run of the year, a solo shot over the left field wall that upped the Lady Techsters advantage to 4-0.
Tech added a run in the seventh as UAB reliever Madison Hir walked three straight batters to load the bases. Blount then re-entered the game and promptly walked Turkoly to force home another run.
Offensively, Tech was led by Turkoly (2-3, 2B, run, RBI), Rizzato (2-3, HR, run, RBI), Galaz (1-2, HR, run, RBI), Smith (1-3, run, 2B), Berkley Calapp (1-2, run) and Tufi (RBI).
Blount (6-9) took the loss for UAB, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out two in 6.2 innings of action.
Game 2: LA Tech 1, UAB 0 (9 innings)
In the second game of the day, Krystal De La Cruz and UAB’s Cara Goodwin battled pitch for pitch, out for out until the top of the ninth inning when Morgan Turkoly’s solo home run gave LA Tech the win.
De La Cruz (7-0) allowed only three hits and one walk while retiring 17 straight UAB batters at one point before picking up the complete-game, 9-inning victory.
Tech outfielder Jazlyn Crowder led the game off with a single, stole second base and then advanced to third on a misplay on a throw from the catcher back to the pitcher. With Crowder on third base and no outs, Tech was in prime position to take an early lead.
However, Goodwin induced a pop up bunt by Tori Charters, a ground ball back to the circle by Morgan Turkoly and a fly out to centerfield by Taria Page to strand Crowder on third. Little did either team know it would be by far the best scoring opportunity for either team in the game.
De La Cruz allowed a first inning single and then opened the second inning by walking the leadoff batter for the Blazers. A throwing error by Tech third baseman Jessica Ball – who would rob UAB of a pair of base hits on great defensive plays later in the game – put runners on first and second and no outs.
However, UAB popped up a sacrifice bunt attempt that Pauline Tufi caught and then doubled off the runner at first base for the second out. De La Cruz then struck out Amy Waters to end the threat and keep the game at 0-0.
De La Cruz continued to cruise, working perfect 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth and retiring the first two batters of the seventh before finally surrendering a single to Mary Warren. However, another De La Cruz strikeout ended the bottom of the seventh, sending the game into extras.
UAB put a runner on base in the bottom of the eighth and eventually saw the game-winning run advance to third base with two outs. However, Tech shortstop Katie Smith made a great defensive play on a ground ball up the middle that took a bad hop. Smith made the play and threw out the UAB leadoff batter Destini England at first base for the final out as the potential game-winning run crossed home plate.
In the top of the ninth inning, Tech finally found an answer in the form of outfielder Morgan Turkoly. With one out, Turkoly drove a pitch deep over the right centerfield wall for her second home run of the season and the first run of the game.
With the one-run lead, De La Cruz didn’t allow UAB any hope in the bottom of the frame, inducing three straight ground ball outs to Ball at third base for the win.
Offensively, Tech was led by Turkoly (1-4, HR, RBI, run), Taria Page (2-4) and Crowder (1-3, SB).
Goodwin (2-8) took the loss, allowing one run on four hits and three walks while striking out three in 9.0 innings of action.