HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Louisiana Tech completed a three-game Conference USA series sweep over Southern Miss Sunday afternoon winning the finale 8-1 at the USM Softball Complex.
With the win, LA Tech improved to 19-10 on the year, 5-1 in Conference USA action. The Lady Techsters own a two-game lead in the West Division through just two weekends of play. It marked the seventh straight Conference USA series that Louisiana Tech has won dating back to last year, extending the program record.
As it did in Saturday’s doubleheader sweep (4-0, 4-2), Louisiana Tech used solid pitching and timely hitting to pick up the win – its sixth straight over USM in Hattiesburg.
“We really took a step forward this weekend,” said Tech coach Mark Montgomery. “We hadn’t won a true road game up to this point, but we came here and took all three against a team that has some really impressive wins on its resume.
“Our pitchers were unbelievable all weekend. Defensively, we were solid all weekend. Offensively, we struggled some Saturday but we sure made some great adjustments today and came up with some big two-out hits. I’m proud of everyone. Everyone did their part.”
Three Tech pitchers combined to hold USM to just one run and six hits while the Lady Techsters pounded out 12 hits against the Golden Eagles.
Freshman Jenny Chapman (1-2) earned her first collegiate win in the circle, tossing 2.0 innings in relief and getting out of jams in the bottom of the fourth and the fifth innings. Bailey Allen got the start and tossed a solid 3.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits.
Chapman came on in relief in the fourth after a leadoff triple and single by USM plated a run, cutting Tech’s lead to 4-1. The Paducah, Kentucky native issued a walk but then got a fly out to left field to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fifth, USM loaded the bases with a hit and a pair of walks but Chapman induced a foul out to the Golden Eagles three hole hitter to strand all three runners.
Preslee Gallaway (1) picked up her first save of the season, tossing the final. 1.2 innings while allowing two hits and two walks. Gallaway got out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the bottom of the seventh to seal the win.
Offensively, Tech used a pair of 4-run innings against three Southern Miss pitchers.
In a scoreless game in the third inning, Ali Galaz singled, Tori Charters walked and then Morgan Turkoly followed with a single to load the bases against USM starter Jillian Johnson. Taria Page then lined a 3-1 pitch up the middle into centerfield, plating two runs and giving LA Tech a 2-0 lead. Pauline Tufi then hit a ground ball to shortstop and Turkoly beat the throw home for the third run.
With two outs, freshman Addison Roark came through with a pinch hit single to right centerfield, scoring pinch runner Jazlyn Crowder for a 4-0 lead.
After USM scored the single run in the fourth inning, Tech maintained a 4-1 lead until the top of the seventh frame. With one out, Charters singled through the right side and then scored on a two-out RBI double by Jazlyn Crowder to left centerfield. Tufi, Katie Smith and Marilyn Rizzato all followed with two-out, RBI hits giving the Techsters an 8-1 lead.
Offensively, Tech was led by Galaz (1-4, run), Charters (1-2, 2 runs), Turkoly (1-3, run), Page (1-2, 2 RBI), Crowder (2-2, 2 runs, 1 RBI), Tufi (1-4, run, 2 RBI), Smith (1-4, run, 1 RBI), Rizzato (2-2, RBI), Roark (1-2, RBI) and Karlee Jensen (1-3).
For the weekend, the Louisiana Tech pitching staff allowed only three runs – 2 earned – on just 16 hits in 28 innings. USM hit just .163 for the series.
Tech returns to action Wednesday when it hosts Northwestern State at 6 p.m.