Tough First Day in Mexico for @LATechSB
Feb. 8, 2018
PUERTA VALLARTA, Mexico -- Louisiana Tech opened the season Thursday in a foreign country and the preseason Conference USA favorites struggled in the opening day of the Puerta Vallarta Collegiate Challenge.
Tech fell 9-3 to Nevada and 2-1 to Long Beach State in the first day of action despite taking early leads in both games.
"In the first game of the day, we simply didn't do the job in the circle," said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. "We allowed Nevada to scratch for runs in five of the seven innings. We had some good moments, but we allowed some things to affect us that shouldn't have. We are better than that in the circle and we know it.
"In the second game, I thought Preslee Gallaway pitched really well. However, it was our inability to adjust at the plate that ultimately hurt us. The Long Beach State pitcher was really good, but we didn't make the necessary adjustments to give us our best chance.
"As coaches we have to do a better job and as players they have to trust in us. I'm upset and frustrated but its because I know how good we are and we simply didn't come out and show it today. As I told the team, all this means is we won't go undefeated this season. I expect to see a totally different performance from us tomorrow in two more tough games."
In the first game of the day, Tech looked impressive early against the Wolfpack. After a shutdown inning by starter Krystal De La Cruz, the Lady Techsters wasted little time offensively. Jazlyn Crowder walked and stole second and then Morgan Turkoly reached on an infield single. Tech then executed a steal that saw Crowder cross home plate while Turkoly was caught in a rundown between first and second. Tech led 1-0.
Marilyn Rizzato and Taria Page then walked and one out later, Ali Galaz drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. A 15-minute weather delay then allowed Nevada to gather itself. Following the delay, Kali Sargent retired Berkley Calapp on a ground out to end the frame.
Nevada answered in the top of the second. With rain falling, De La Cruz struggled with her control, throwing three wild pitches -- matching her entire total from more than 120 innings of work in 2017. Nevada plated two runs to take a 2-1 lead. The Wolfpack added one in the third and two more in the fourth to take a 5-1 advantage.
In the bottom of the fourth, Tech appeared poised to cut into the deficit. With runners on second and third and only one out, Turkoly lined a ball that appeared headed for left centerfield. However, the Nevada shortstop jumped high into the air to snare it and doubled off the runner at second to end the frame.
After Nevada scored two more runs in the fifth to go up 7-1, Tech captured some momentum on Galaz's two-run home run over the right centerfield fence, cutting the deficit to four runs.
However, that was as close as Tech would get as the Wolf Pack added a two-run home run in the top of the seventh for the final margin.
De La Cruz (0-1) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in 2.0 innings of action. Jensen Howell (1.1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 1 K), Jenny Chapman (1.0 IP, 1 H, 1 run, 1 BB, 1 K) and Bailey Allen (2.2 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 ER, 1 K) all saw action in the circle.
In the second game of the day, Tech's PReslee Gallway and Long Beach State's Cielo Meza battled in the circle in a pitchers dual.
Once again, Tech took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Crowder drew a four-pitch walk and then advanced to second on a fly out by Turkoly to left field. The throw back in to second got away from the LBSU infielder allowing Crowder to advance to third.
Galaz then laid down a bunt that Meza tried to make a diving catch on, but the ball bounced and then deflected off of Meza's glove allowing Crowder to score. Tech led 1-0.
Meza would settle down for the 49ers, tossing a complete-game while striking out 12 Tech batters. Gallaway was almost as impressive but a two-run fourth inning ultimately proved costly as the 49ers plated two runs on three hits -- all singles -- to take the lead.
Meza made the lead hold, allowing only one more Tech hit after the first inning -- a Jensen fifth-inning single -- while recording the dozen strikeouts.
Tech returns to action Friday when they face Nevada ta 5 p.m. and James Madison at 8 p.m.
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