RUSTON – Louisiana Tech opens Western Athletic Conference play this weekend when the Lady Techsters host Utah State in a three-game series at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
The series begins Friday with a single game at 6 p.m. followed by a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission to all Lady Techster softball games is free of charge.
Tech (13-16, 0-0 WAC) and Utah State (8-17, 0-0 WAC) will both begin the long road to qualifying for the Western Athletic Conference Tournament which will be held in Las Cruces, New Mexico in May as only the top six teams in the final league standings will advance to the postseason event.
Since the WAC Tournament was reinstated in 2006, Louisiana Tech is one of only four WAC programs that have qualified for each of the previous six tournaments, joining Fresno State, Hawaii and New Mexico State.
Tech enters this weekend's series after sweeping Texas-Arlington in a non-conference doubleheader last Saturday, defeating the Mavs 2-1 and 8-0 in six innings.
The Lady Techsters boast a balanced offensive attack that includes Janna Frandrup (.378, 1 HR, 21 RBI), Melanie Goff (.378, 6 RBI, 3 SB), Erin Kipp (.324, 2 HR, 7 RBI), Katelynn Hill (.281, 5 HR, 13 RBI), Kendra Harmon (.278, 6 RBI) and Amanda Krueger (.271, 25 runs, 10 doubles). Alayna Kipp (3 HR, 9 RBI), Dacia Hale (4 HR, 12 RBI) and Meghan Knowles (2 HR, 12 RBI) have also provided some power this season.
Michelle Jones (8-7, 2.67 ERA) has anchored the Tech pitching staff thus far this season, leading the team in starts (16), innings pitched (89.0) and strikeouts (35). Jones has already tossed a pair of shutouts this year and has only allowed two home runs all season.
Frandrup (1-3, 0.91 ERA), Erin Kipp (4-3, 6.02 ERA) and Goff (0-3, 6.00 ERA) have also seen significant time in the circle this year. Kipp is coming off her most impressive performance of her young career, throwing a six-inning shutout in the win over UTA.
Utah State enters the weekend having lost nine straight games with the Aggies last victory coming March 4 in a 4-3 win over St. Joseph's. However, the Aggies have shown the ability to defeat quality opponents as proven by their 6-5 win over North Carolina State and 6-3 win over Indiana.
The Aggies also dropped close games against UCLA 2-0 and Michigan State 3-2.
Although Utah State is only batting .241 as a team, the Aggies boast two of the WAC's top hitters in Kelley Kaneshiro (.405, 3 HR, 11 RBI) and Christine Thomsen (.400, 2 HR, 9 RBI). Lindsey Marquez (.254, 2 HR, 10 RBI) and Kassandra Uchida (.291, 2 HR, 7 RBI) have also provided offensive output for USU.
In the circle, the Aggies sport a team ERA of 5.34, utilizing mainly a two-person rotation of Shelbi Tyteca (4-7, 5.00 ERA) and Mandy Harmon (3-8, 5.19 ERA). Both Tyteca and Harmon are allowing opponents to bat .324 against them this season. Dani Chaplin (1-1, 7.39 ERA) has also started two games in the circle and made appearances in nine contests.
Louisiana Tech leads the all-time series against Utah State 15-7, including an 8-1 mark in Ruston. Tech won three out of four contests between the two programs last year, including a 4-1 victory that knocked Utah State out of the WAC Tournament.
Fans can follow all of the action this weekend through Gametracker at www.latechsports.com. Fans can also access a video and audio feed of the game by purchasing a monthly subscription to LA Tech All-Access at www.latechsports.com. Updates will also be provided via Twitter as fans can follow @LATechMButler.
|< Prev||Next >|