March 13, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech was two outs away from defeating Central Arkansas in a pitcher's duel but the Lady Techsters faltered in an extra inning 9-7 loss Tuesday evening in the home opener at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
Tech starter Michelle Jones (7-7) cruised through six innings, holding the nation's eighth most prolific offensive team to only one run on four hits. However, a pair of infield singles, a costly error and a mental lapse gave the Bears an opportunity in the seventh as UCA scored two runs to take a 3-2 advantage.
Sophomore rightfielder Erin Kipp - whose younger sister Alayna hit a solo home run in the second inning of the game - gave LA Tech new life with one out in the bottom of the seventh, drilling a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall to tie the game at 3-3. It was Erin Kipp's first home run of the year.
The game went to extra innings with the international tiebreaker rule in effect. Thanks to three costly errors, the eighth frame turned into a slugfest as the two teams combined to score 10 runs.
UCA opened the top of the eighth moving the runner placed on second over to third on a sacrifice bunt. The Bears then took a 4-3 lead on an RBI single to right field by Nichole Beals, who then moved to second when Jones hit Tiffany Roby with a pitch.
Jones appeared to have gotten out of the frame when she induced a double play ground ball to third base, but it was mishandled and all runners were safe ... loading the bases.
Stephanie Lasley then singled home a run and Jones forced home a third with a bases loaded walk as the Bears led 6-3. Melinda Bryant then cleared the bases with a double to left centerfield as UCA upped the advantage to 9-3.
Tech didn't go quietly in its half of the eighth. Kendra Harmon was placed on second and promptly scored on a two-run home run by Amanda Krueger to right centerfield, making the score 9-5. It was Krueger's first home run of the season, and it chased UCA starter Kelsie Armstrong from the game.
Kelly Martino relieved Newsome and promptly struck Kipp out swinging for the second out of the frame. Meghan Knowles then hit a sharp ground to third base that Roby had go through her legs for an error, as Frandrup scored making the game 9-6.
Van Winkle then just barely missed a game-winning grand slam home run, pulling the ball about 10 feet foul down the left field line. She followed it with a ground ball to shortstop that was mishandled for the second straight UCA error, scoring Goff and cutting the deficit to 9-7.
Harmon, who had two hits already in the game including an RBI single in the fifth, then came to the plate and worked the count full, before grounding out to first base to end the game.
Harmon led Tech's eight-hit attack with two hits and one RBI while Krueger (HR, 2 RBI), Goff (1 hit), Alayna Kipp (HR, 1 RBI), Erin Kipp (HR, 1 RBI), Knowles (1 hit) and Van Winkle (1 hit) each registered at least one hit.
Jones took the loss, allowing 10 hits and nine runs - only six earned - in 8.0 innings of action.
Tech returns to action Saturday when it hosts Texas-Arlington in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.