RUSTON – Louisiana Tech made a little history on Saturday with its 8-0 five inning run-rule win over UTEP in Ruston, completing the Lady Techsters three-game sweep of the Miners.
It marked the second straight conference three-game sweep for LA Tech (29-16, 12-3 CUSA), an accomplishment that no other Lady Techster softball team ever achieved. The victory was also the 12th in conference play, tying the program record for the most league wins in a season (Tech has nine C-USA games remaining).
“I’m really proud of us as a whole,” said Mark Montgomery. “I really got onto them after the loss at ULM Wednesday night. I felt like we didn’t play anywhere close to our capabilities. We came back and had a good practice on Thursday and for the most part we took that to the field this weekend. We weren’t perfect by any stretch, but we won three games behind some great pitching and timely hitting.”
The LA Tech win combined with FIU’s 3-1 win over Marshall Saturday means the Lady Techsters are not tied with the Thundering Herd (15-3) in the loss column in league play. Marshall has played three more games than LA Tech to this point.
Saturday’s win was Tech’s 16th shutout of the season, its eighth in 12 Conference USA victories. It was also Tech’s 12th run-rule win of the year.
Sophomore Krystal De La Cruz (9-0) got the start in the circle and picked up her ninth win of the season and the second of the series. She tossed a scoreless 3.0 innings allowing five hits and no walks. Bailey Allen came in and worked a solid 2.0 innings of relief, allowing one hit and one walk.
The Miners threatened in the top of the first inning on a pair of hits. But with only one out and runners on first and second, Tech third baseman Berkley Calapp fielded a sharp ground ball, stepped on the bag for the force and then fired across the diamond to complete the double play.
Tech jumped on the Miners (11-31, 5-13) early. Ali Galaz doubled off the top of the left field wall to open the bottom of the first and Morgan Turkoly drew a one out walk. With two outs and runners on second and third, Pauline Tufi singled up the middle to give the Lady Techsters a 2-0 lead.
The Lady Techsters built on their lead in the second inning, scoring four runs on two hits. UTEP starter Devyn Cretz walked the bases loaded and then surrendered a pinch-hit two-run double to Jazyln Crowder, upping the lead to 4-0. Turkoly then followed with a two-run single to left centerfield as Tech took a commanding 6-0 advantage.
Tech added a single run in the third inning on a successful double steal attempt that saw Marilyn Rizzato score before Calapp was tagged out in the run-down between first and second for the final out of the inning.
The Lady Techsters completed their scoring in the fourth when Taria Page drew a bases-loaded walk to force home the eighth run of the game.
Offensively, Tech was led by Galaz (1-2, 3 runs), Turkoly (1-2, run, 2 RBI), Crowder (1-2, run, 2 RBI), Page (RBI), Tufi (1-3, 2 RBI), Rizzato (1-2, run), Jensen (run) and Katie Smith (1-1, run).