RUSTON – After surrendering a total of just three runs in its last five games, Louisiana Tech ran into a hot-hitting McNeese State team Sunday afternoon as the Cowgirls roughed up four Lady Techster pitchers for 17 hits in a 13-7 win.
Tech entered the game on a five-game winning streak that saw it defeat South Carolina (5-1), Southeastern Louisiana (5-1), Sam Houston State (7-1), Northern Iowa (8-0) and Grambling State (6-0).
However, McNeese State recorded seven extra base hits, including three home runs, to snap the Lady Techsters winning streak.
“We simply weren’t ready to play today,” said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery, who saw his team lose for the first time in 10 home games. “We have really been pitching well over the last few weeks. McNeese State is an NCAA Tournament team the last few years and they played like one today.
“We have to understand the power of energy. If we had expended a little energy early and not allowed them to jump out early then we wouldn’t have had to expend so much in the middle innings to try to fight back. They were able to throw the haymaker punch in the sixth. I’m proud that we kept fighting but we have to learn a lesson from this.”
McNeese State scored two in the second and one in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead. Tech answered in the bottom of the third against Cowgirls starter Rachel Smith. With two outs and no one aboard, Tori Charters singled and then scored on an RBI double to right center by Pauline Tufi. Taria Page then drove Tufi home with a single up the middle to cut the deficit to 3-2.
After Jenny Chapman worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning in relief in the fourth – the only one of the game for Tech pitchers – Tech tied the game at 3-3 on a two-out, RBI double by Jazlyn Crowder scoring Jessica Ball.
McNeese retook the lead in the fifth on back-to-back home runs gave the Cowgirls a 5-3 lead. Tech responded again on a two-out, RBI single by Katie Smith that scored Taria Page who tripled in the bottom of the fifth.
Trailing 5-4, Tech saw McNeese State plate six runs on four hits, two walks and a hit batter in the sixth inning to push its advantage out to 11-4. Tech scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth as Page drove home Charters and Crowder.
Tech’s final run scored in the bottom of the seventh on a wild pitch by McNeese State reliever Jolie Trahan.
Preslee Gallaway (4.1 IP, 10 H, 5 runs, 3 Ks), Chapman (1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 runs), Krystal De La Cruz (0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 runs) and Bailey Allen (1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 2 runs) all struggled in the loss. Chapman (0-2) took the loss in relief.
Offensively, Tech was led by Page (3-3, 1 run, 3 RBI), Charters (2-4, 2 runs), Crowder (1-4, 1 run, 1 RBI), Tufi (1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI), Smith (1-3, 1 run), Calapp (1-4), Galaz (1-4), Ball (1 run) and Addison Roark (1 run).
The Lady Techsters return to action Wednesday when they travel to Oxford to face Ole Miss.