Aggies Down Tech 4-0 in WAC Opener
March 23, 2012
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech put runners in scoring position in every inning, but Utah State pitcher Mandy Harmon continually pitched her way and her team out of the jams as the Aggies defeated the Lady Techsters 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams Friday night at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
Tech (13-17, 0-1 WAC) left a total of 12 runners on base in the game, including nine in scoring position as Utah State (9-17, 1-0 WAC) defeated the Lady Techsters for only the second time in 10 games in Ruston. Harmon (4-8), who entered the game with a 5.19 earned run average, allowed five hits and seven walks but struck out six in the complete-game performance.
The Aggies took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a leadoff walk, throwing error and eventually a squeeze bunt by Kelley Kaneshiro.
For the next six innings, Louisiana Tech had its chance to tie the game or take the lead. The Lady Techsters stranded two runners in the first, three in the second, one in the third, fourth and fifth and three more in the sixth.
The biggest play of the night defensively was made by Utah State centerfielder Kassandra Uchida who robbed Amanda Krueger of a two-run hit in the bottom of the second inning. With the bases loaded and two outs, Krueger hit a low liner to center that Uchida, who was playing extremely shallow, made a full-out diving catch for the final out of the frame.
Tech pitcher Michelle Jones (8-8) was solid in the circle through the first six innings, limiting the Aggies to only the one unearned run and three hits.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tech again appeared poised to tie the game or take the lead. Erin Kipp led the frame off with a single and then Katelynn Hill followed with a bunt where the Aggies infield tried to unsuccessfully throw Kipp out at second base.
Dacia Hale then sacrificed both runners to second and third with only one out. Pinch hitter Meghan Knowles then came to the plate but struck out swinging for the second out of the frame. After Kendra Harmon walked to load the bases, Krueger hit a sharp one-hopper to Aggies third baseman Tatem Day who stepped on third for the final out of the frame.
Utah State responded in the top of the seventh inning. Jolene Koons and Day led the frame off with back-to-back singles and then Christina Cummings moved them over with a ground out to second base. Uchida then laid down a squeeze bunt that scored Koons to up the advantage to 2-0. Lindsey Marquez then followed with a two-run single to left centerfield, making the score 4-0.
Tech put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Kipp grounded into a game-ending four-three double play.
Kipp led Tech with two hits while Melanie Goff, Hill and Hale each registered one hit in the game.
Jones took the loss, allowing four runs - three earned - on six hits and three walks while striking out two.
The two teams return to action Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled for 1 p.m.