RUSTON – Preslee Gallaway and Krystal De La Cruz tossed complete game victories leading Louisiana Tech to a Friday Conference USA sweep over UTEP at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
Tech (28-15, 11-3 C-USA) defeated the Miners (11-30, 5-12) by the scores of 4-2 and 4-0 behind the arms of Gallaway and De La Cruz, assuring itself of the series win. The two teams will complete the series with game three set for Saturday at noon.
Karlee Jensen and Morgan Turkoly combined for nine hits in the doubleheader to lead the Lady Techsters offensively.
With the victories, the Lady Techsters keep a stronghold on the top spot in the C-USA West Division and trail only Marshall in the overall league standings.
Game 1: LA Tech 4, UTEP 2
A first inning walk and hit batter and a two-out triple allowed UTEP to take the early 2-0 lead over Louisiana Tech, before Techsters starter Preslee Gallaway took over control.
Trailing 2-0, Tech loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning on a pair of singles by Tori Charters and Morgan Turkoly and a walk to Taria Page. After a force out at home on a fielders choice ground ball by Pauline Tufi, freshman Marilyn Rizzato came through with an RBI single to left center field, scoring Turkoly and cutting the Miners lead to 2-1.
Tech would tie the game in the bottom of the third inning. Turkoly doubled to left field and then Page appeared to hit a run-scoring double to left centerfield. However, Page was called out for not touching first base but the run scored to tie the game at 2-2.
The Lady Techsters took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning. Jessica Ball worked a one-out walk and then scored on an RBI double to left centerfield by Jensen, who saw her batting average raise 54 points on the day.
Tech added an insurance run in the fifth inning. Turkoly reached on a bunt single – her third hit of the day – and scored on an RBI single by Pauline Tufi through the right side. Tech led 4-2.
UTEP had an opportunity in the top of the sixth inning as the Miners first two batters reached on uncharacteristic errors by Tech. However, Gallaway got out of the jam picking up her seventh strikeout of the game to end the frame.
Gallaway (12-10) picked up her fifth win in C-USA play, allowing two runs on five hits and one walk while striking out seven in the game.
Offensively, Tech was led by Turkoly (3-3, 3 runs), Jensen (2-2, RBI), Jazlyn Crowder (1-4), Charters (1-3), Page (run), Tufi (1-3, RBI), Rizzato (1-3, RBI) and Ball (1-2, run).
Game 2: LA Tech 4, UTEP 0
Krystal De La Cruz extended her consecutive inning scoreless streak to 18 innings, tossing her second consecutive complete-game shutout in league play as the Techsters won 4-0.
De La Cruz (8-0) allowed only a leadoff single in the second inning and a one-out single in the sixth inning while striking out five batters and walking only one.
While the sophomore from Eagle Pass was cruising in the circle, Tech took an early 3-0 lead in the second inning after leaving the bases loaded in the first. Berkley Calapp walked and Karlee Jensen doubled to right center to put runners on second and third with one out. Ali Galaz then hit a two-run single up the middle, scoring both runners and giving Tech a 2-0 advantage.
One out later, Turkoly doubled down the left field line, scoring Galaz for the third run of the frame.
With her team staking her to the lead, De La Cruz retired 11 straight batters before a two-out error broke the streak. However, De La Cruz got Ariel Blair swinging for the final out of the top of the fifth, preserving the 3-0 lead.
UTEP had a chance to break up the shutout in the top of the sixth inning. A one out infield single and two-base throwing error allowed Lindsey Sokoloski to reach third with just one out. However, a line out to left field and a ground out to third base ended the threat.
Tech added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Jensen singled and Galaz singled with two outs and then Tori Charters line a single to right field, scoring Jensen and upping the Tech advantage to 4-0.
Offensively, Tech was led by Galaz (3-4, run, 2 RBI), Jensen (3-3, 2 runs), Charters (1-3, RBI), Turkoly (1-2, RBI), Tufi (1-2) and Calapp (run).