HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Junior Ali Galaz’s two-run double in the top of the 14th inning propelled Louisiana Tech to a 4-2 win over Southern Miss Saturday, giving the Lady Techsters a doubleheader sweep against the Golden Eagles at USM Softball Complex.
Tech (18-10, 4-1 C-USA) won the first game of the day 4-0 over Southern Miss (13-13, 1-4 C-USA). The two teams will complete the three-game Conference USA series Sunday at 1 p.m.
LA Tech 4, Southern Miss 0 (Game 1)
Pauline Tufi hit a two-run home run and Preslee Gallaway tossed her second consecutive complete-game shutout in Conference USA action as the Lady Techsters defeated USM 4-0 in the first game of the day.
Tufi hit a mammoth two-run shot over the scoreboard in left centerfield in the second inning off USM starter Jillian Johnson, her 6th of the season and the 33rd of her career. With the home run, Tufi moved into sole possession of second place on the Louisiana Tech career home run list (Amberly Waits, 36).
Taria Page led the second inning off with a single to right centerfield and then Tufi launched a 3-1 pitch deep over the wall for the lead.
Tech added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning against USM reliever Samantha Robles on RBI singles by Tufi and Morgan Turkoly. Katie Smith reached second base on a throwing error by USM third baseman Eva Scott and then scored on Turkoly’s one-out single up the middle, giving Tech a 3-0 lead. With two outs and a runner on second, Tufi singled through the left side to plate Turkoly for the final run of the frame.
In the circle, Gallaway (8-6) was in complete control through the first five inning, not allowing a USM hit until the bottom of the sixth inning. Southern Miss loaded the bases in the sixth with two outs, but Gallaway induced an inning ending ground ball to protect the 4-run lead.
Gallaway allowed four hits and two walks while striking out seven batters in the win.
Offensively, Tufi (2-3, HR, run, 3 RBI), Turkoly (1-3, run, RBI), Page (1-2), Smith (run), Kimmie Atienza (run) led Tech.
LA Tech 4, Southern Miss 2 – 14 Innings (Game 2)
The second game of the day turned into a marathon as Tech starter Krystal De La Cruz and USM starter Kim Crowson matched each other pitch for pitch, out for out before the Lady Techsters finally broke through in the top of the 14th for the win.
De La Cruz saw three of the first four Southern Miss hitters record hits in the first inning as the Golden Eagles took an early 1-0 lead. However, the sophomore transfer settled down, allowing only three hits over the final 10.2 innings of action in the circle.
Trailing 1-0 in the top of the second, Tech responded. Taria Page walked and then Pauline Tufi singled to center field and both runners advanced to second and third on a fielding error by the USM centerfielder. Galaz drove home pinch runner Kimmie Atienza with a ground ball out and then Jessica Ball gave Tech a 2-1 lead with an RBI single to centerfield.
USM tied the game in the third inning on an unearned run. It was the last run the game would see until the top of the 14th inning.
De La Cruz allowed hits in the third, fifth and seventh innings. USM had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and a runner on first as Jade Lewis ripped a double down the left field line. However, USM coach Wendy Hogue held the runner at third base. With runners on second and third, De La Cruz induced a pop up by Tori Dew to end the threat.
USM appeared to have another chance to claim victory in the bottom of the 11th. With a runner on first and one out, Eva Scott lined a ball into the right centerfield gap that appeared to be headed for extra bases. However, Galaz made a running catch to rob a hit and the potential game-winning run.
Junior Bailey Allen came on in relief for De La Cruz to start the 12th inning and kept USM at bay, allowing only one walk while striking out one over the final 3.0 innings.
With the game tied at 2-2, Tech had a chance to win the game in the 13th inning. Kassie Harris was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, Katie Smith lined a single through the left side but USM outfielder Ciarra Cherry gunned down Harris at home to end the inning.
Tech finally struck paydirt in the 14th off of USM reliever Samantha Robles, who replaced Crowson who tossed 13.0 innings. Tori Charters led the frame off with a single to centerfield and advanced to second on a bobble by USM centerfielder Ariel Pollock. Turkoly then followed with a perfectly placed bunt single to put runners on the corners.
Following a ground out by Taria Page and a walk to Tufi that loaded the bases, Galaz lined a double that one-hopped the wall, plating two Techsters.
Allen (5-2) picked up the win in relief. De La Cruz threw 11 innings, tying for the sixth most in a single game in Lady Techster history. De La Cruz allowed two runs – one earned – on six hits and four walks while striking out three.
Offensively, Tech was led by Charters (2-6, run), Tufi (2-5, run), Galaz (2-6, 3 RBI), Turkoly (1-5, run), Smith (1-6), Atienza (run) and Ball (1-3, RBI).