March 30, 2014
RUSTON - Bianca Duran and Pauline Tufi combined for a two-hit shutout and Janine Godwin and Hailey Winter provided the offense as Louisiana Tech defeated Florida Atlantic 4-0 Sunday at the Lady Techsters Softball Complex.
With the win, LA Tech (13-22, 4-8 C-USA) won its second consecutive Conference USA series as the Lady Techsters took two of the three games.
Tufi (9-6) picked up the win in relief after Duran pitched a strong first four innings. The duo were in control all day and also benefited from a tremendous defensive effort that included highlight reel plays from its entire infield.
FAU's Sam Messer (11-5) matched Tufi and Duran pitch for pitch over the first four innings before the Lady Techsters finally recorded some timely hits in the latter innings.
Godwin led the bottom of the fifth inning off with a standup double to left centerfield and then moved to third on an illegal pitch by Messer. After Katelynn Hill reached first after being hit by a pitch, Godwin scored on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt laid down by Winter, giving Tech a 1-0 lead.
FAU put the potential game-tying run on third base in the top of the sixth but Tufi struck out Mikey Bell swinging for the final out of the inning, preserving the one run lead.
Tech then added some insurance in the bottom of the sixth. Anna Cross led off with a sharply hit single up the middle and then moved to second with FAU second baseman Melissa Martinez dropped a tag attempt on a ground ball by Kristen Miles. One out later, Duran walked to load the bases with one out.
Godwin then followed with a line drive single to centerfield, scoring Miles and upping the advantage to 2-0. With two outs and the bases loaded, Winter singled sharply past the third base bag, scoring two more runs and giving Tech a 4-0 lead.
Tufi retired the Owls in order in the top of the seventh to pick up her ninth win of the year. Tufi allowed only one hit and one walk while striking out four in 3.0 innings of work. Duran allowed only an infield single and two walks over the first four innings.
FAU's only real scoring threat early came in the top of the fourth inning when Duran loaded the bases with two hit batters and a walk. However, she induced a ground ball out to Courtney Lowe at second base to end the threat.
Messer (11-5) took the loss, allowing four runs - two earned - on six hits and no strikeouts in 6.0 innings of action.
Cross (2-3), Godwin (2-3, 1 run, 1 RBI), Winter (1-3, 3 RBI), Tufi (1-3), Miles (1 run) and Taylor Penn (1 run) paced Tech offensively.
After dropping their first six C-USA games of the season, LA Tech has won four of its last six. The two wins over Florida Atlantic came against an Owls team that had wins over Tulsa, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Penn State (twice) this year.