Feb. 23, 2013
HATTIESBURG - Louisiana Tech dropped a pair of close contests Saturday during its first day of competition at the Southern Miss Tournament as the Lady Techsters fell 6-4 to Northwestern State and 4-3 to Southern Mississippi.
LA Tech (5-6) will wrap up the weekend action Sunday with a 9 a.m. contest against Northwestern State followed by an 11 a.m. game against USM.
Northwestern State 6, LA Tech 4
In the first game of the day, LA Tech saw the Demons (11-2) build a 6-0 lead before rallying late only to come up short in the loss.
Starting pitcher Michelle Jones (3-3) surrendered three first inning runs as the Demons capitalized on some timely hitting and some defensive miscues by the Lady Techsters. Brianna Rodriguez gave NSU a 2-0 lead with a two-run double to straight away centerfield followed by Natalie Landry's RBI groundout.
Jones settled down following the first inning and held NSU scoreless over the next three frames although the Lady Techsters were unable to solve Demons starter Brooke Boening (3-1), who also kept the LA Tech bats silent.
NSU added onto its lead in the top of the fifth inning on a pair of two out home runs - a two-run shot by Cheyenne DelaGarza and a solo shot by Cassandra Barefield as the Demons led 6-0.
Tech finally plated a run in the bottom of the fifth inning as Anna Cross singled and Amanda Krueger walked to put runners on first and second. Following a Kristen Miles sacrifice bunt moved both runners over, Erin Kipp recorded an RBI on a fielder's choice ground out to cut the deficit to 6-1.
The Lady Techsters then made some real noise in the bottom of the sixth inning as Meghan Knowles singled in front of back-to-back walks by Dacia Hale and Janine Godwin to load the bases. Cross then laced a bases-clearing double to right centerfield as Tech cut the NSU lead to 6-4 and chasing Boening from the game.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Janna Frandrup recorded a two-out single to bring the tying run to the plate, but Kayla Guidry retired Knowles on a ground out for the final out of the game.
Jones took the loss, allowing six runs - five earned - on seven hits and four walks while striking out five batters. Erin Kipp pitched the final. 1.2 innings, allowing only two hits and one walk.
Cross (2 hits, 3 RBI, 1 run), Erin Kipp (1 hit, 1 RBI, 1 SB), Frandrup (1 hit), Knowles (1 hit, 1 run), Godwin (1 run) and Hale (1 run, 1 SB) and Krueger (1 SB) led Tech offensively.
Southern Miss 4, LA Tech 3
After trailing the entire game 1-0, Louisiana Tech rallied for three runs on four hits in the top of the seventh inning but then watched Southern Miss return the favor by plating three runs in the bottom of the frame for the win.
Jones (3-3) got the start for Tech in the circle and allowed back-to-back doubles to open the game as the Golden Eagles (7-10) took an early 1-0 lead. However, Jones settled down and got three double plays from her defense as she allowed only one hit over the next five innings of action.
The Lady Techters consistently put runners on base against USM starter Kimberly Wagner as LA Tech stranded runners in every inning of the game. Tech best scoring opportunity came in the fourth inning when Wagner issued three walks and the Lady Techsters loaded the bases with two outs. However, Cross struck out swinging for the final out of the frame.
Tech had another scoring chance in the fifth inning as Krueger and Miles led off with back-to-back singles. However, Wagner retired the next three batters in order to stymie the rally.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the top of the seventh inning, Krueger led off with a double to left centerfield and then advanced to third on a bunt single by Miles, who promptly stole second base. With runners on second and third, Wagner retired Erin Kipp on a fly out for the first out. Alayna Kipp then ground to second base where USM freshman Morgan McKeever gunned down Krueger at home for the second out of the inning.
With runners on first and third, Alayna Kipp stole second base and then Frandrup followed with an RBI infield single. On the play, McKeever threw wide of first base for an error, allowing Alayna Kipp to score the go-ahead run from second base.
Pinch runner Katelynn Cook then stole second base and Knowles followed with an RBI single to right field, upping the LA Tech advantage to 3-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, USM rallied as McKenzie Sher hit a towering two-run opposite field home run to tie the game at 3-3. A hit by pitch and walk later, USM had runners on second and third with two outs when Caroline Walker lined a single to centerfield to score the game-winning run.
Tech stranded 10 runners on base in the game while USM stranded only two.
Jones took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts in 6.2 innings of action.