Feb. 8, 2013
HAMMOND, La. - Louisiana Tech dropped a pair of games during the opening day of the 2013 season as the Lady Techsters fell 7-2 to Tennessee-Martin in extra innings and 11-1 to Jacksonville State Friday at the Jimmy John's Lion Classic.
Tech (0-2) fought back from a two-run deficit in the opening game of the day as the Lady Techsters plated single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to send the game into extra innings against UT-Martin, a team that won 39 games a year ago and played in the NCAA regionals.
The Lady Techsters had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh as Tech had the bases loaded with only one out, but UT-Martin pitched out of the jam. In the top of the eighth inning, UT-Martin erupted for five runs on four hits to pick up the victory.
"In the first game I thought we played well enough to win," said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. "Michelle (Jones) gave up the early two-run homer; the girl hit a good pitch. We battled back and took the game to extra innings. It was my fault that I probably left Janna (Frandrup) in a little too long. I probably should have made a pitching change before the eighth. She had seen those hitters before, and I just left her in too long. I thought she pitched great prior to that inning. Erin (Kipp) did great job of closing out that inning."
Jones started in the circle for the Lady Techsters and pitched well, allowing only a two-run home run in the top of the second inning designated hitter Morgan Lewis. However, Jones settled down and allowed only two runs - one earned - on three hits and two walks over 5.0 innings of action while striking out four.
Frandrup came on in relief of Jones in the top of the sixth inning with Tech trailing 2-0. Frandrup retired six of the first seven batters she faced, giving the Lady Techsters an opportunity to fight back.
Tech scored its first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two outs and no one on, Dacia Hale singled to shortstop and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Meghan Knowles then walked to put runners on first and second before Janine Godwin singled to centerfield, driving home Hale to make the score 2-1.
In the top of the eighth, UT-Martin got a two-run double from Kenzi Tate and a three-home run home from Lauren Smith to pull away for the win.
Tech outhit UT-Martin in the game 9-7 but the Lady Techsters stranded 11 runners in the game.
"We had some hits, but we didn't drive the ball," Montgomery said. "They weren't shots. We had some seeing-eye grounds balls. Problem is the next time you hit one of those, then they turn it into a double play. It is disappointing, but we weren't driving ball like we needed to. We pitched well enough to win. We did everything well enough to win first game; we just didn't."
Kipp led Tech with two hits while Miles, Frandrup (1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 SB), Hale (1 hit, 1 run), Knowles (1 hit, 1 SB), Godwin (1 hit, 1 RBI), Erin Kipp (1 hit) and Cross (1 hit, 1 run, 2 SB) also registered hits.
In the second game of the day, Jacksonville State erupted for six runs in the first inning and never looked back to take an 11-1 five-inning decision from the Lady Techsters.
"Against Jacksonville State, unfortunately, Erin had a rocky start," Montgomery said. "It's early in the season, and I need to see how we respond to situations. That's one reason I put her back out there (later in the game), and I thought she pitched much better.
"I thought our kids gave effort and never game up, but I thought we played safe. When you take a blow like we did, you have to get back up and keep punching. I thought we settled with just getting back up. Our goal is to get better every day and to be at our best by the end of the season. I saw a lot of good things today, but I saw some things that we have to do better."
Jacksonville State, a perennial NCAA regionals team, opened the game by scoring six runs on six hits in the first inning, with the big blow being a three-run home run by Kalee Tabor off Frandrup, who had come on in relief of Kipp.
Tech scored its lone run of the contest in the top of the second inning. With two outs, Erin Kipp doubled to left field and then scored on a single to right field by Godwin, making the score 6-1.
The Gamecocks would add three runs in the third and two more in the fourth while holding the Lady Techsters scoreless over their final three at bats.
Erin Kipp (0-1) took the loss, allowing seven runs on six hits and one walk in 2.0 innings of work.
The Lady Techsters return to action Saturday with a 12:30 p.m. contest against Nicholls State and a 3 p.m. game against Delaware.
For in-game twitter updates, follow @LATechSB.