Feb. 16, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas - Louisiana Tech's pitching staff held IPFW to only four hits and one earned run but two costly errors in the bottom of the third inning proved costly as the Lady Techsters fell 5-3 in the final game of the Texas Classic on Sunday.
"We are 2-7 and I'm not happy with it, but I know this team has great potential," said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. "We are giving people runs (with our physical and mental mistakes), and we are having to earn our runs. If we could eliminate one inning out of every ball game so far - and I know we can't - we could be 7-2 right now against a tough schedule."
Bianca Duran (1-5) got the start in the circle for the Lady Techsters (2-7) and held the Mastodons (7-2) offense in check through the first two innings. However, in the bottom of the third inning of a scoreless game, IPFW capitalized on a pair of LA Tech miscues.
Alex Bousquet reached on a one-out fielding error by Tech shortstop Anna Cross and advanced to second on an infield single by Larissa Franklin. With runners on first and second and one out, Ashleigh Bousquet hit a line drive to centerfield that Tori Charters misplayed off her glove, allowing one run to score and placing runners on second and third.
Duran then recorded a strikeout for the second out of the frame. However, Duran then surrendered a three-run home run deep over the centerfield fence to Hillary Kartman as the Dons increased their advantage to 4-0. All four runs were unearned.
"That game should have been 1-1 going into bottom of seventh inning," Montgomery said. "Both teams made errors that cost them. I've said from beginning I think our pitchers are one of our strengths. If we had not made mistakes behind them, our numbers could be much better. We just have to keep getting better. If a mistake is made behind them, they have to stay the course and trust their defense."
After IPFW added a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to up its lead to 5-2, Tech loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the sixth. Alayna Kipp and Hailey Winter both singled to start the frame, chasing Don's ace Miranda Kramer from the game.
"The last two games I thought our offensive approach was correct, and we were doing a lot of things right," Montgomery said. "(IPFW's) pitcher might be the best we have seen this year. She is legit. We put up six hits and drew four walks on her and chased her out of the game. Coach Murphy did a great job of putting our kids in place to be successful, and we stuck to the game plan."
Megan Flenniken came on in relief of Kramer and promptly recorded back-to-back strikeouts. Kristen Miles then singled into the hole at second base, scoring Courtney Lowe. However, pinch runner Lindsey Neyland was thrown out trying to score from second on the play, ending the inning with the score 5-3.
Tech had one final chance in the top of the seventh, but Flenniken retired all three batters she faced in order to preserve the win.
Duran took the loss for Tech, allowing four runs - zero earned - on only three hits and no walks in 3.0 innings of action. Tufi pitched 2.0 innings in relief, allowing one run on one hit and one walk. Cross retired all three batters she faced in 1.0 inning of action.
Offensively, Tech was led by Miles (1-4, 1 RBI), Duran (1-4), Alayna Kipp (1-3), Winter (1-1, 2 walks), Godwin (1 run), Charters (1-1), Hill (1-2, 1 run) and Lowe (1 run).
The Lady Techsters will return to action Wednesday when they host Grambling State at 6 p.m. at the Tech Softball Complex.