April 4, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Sophomore Jessica Kirby hit two home runs to lead Louisiana Tech to a 12-4 win over New Mexico State in Western Athletic Conference action at NMSU Softball Complex Friday night.
Kirby was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate while driving in a career-high five runs and scoring twice. The 12 runs were a season-high for Tech and tied the program record for most runs scored in a WAC game (Tech scored 12 against UTEP in 2004).
"Jessica didn't get a lot of at bats last year so technically this is like her freshman year," said Tech head coach Sarah Dawson. "She still has some issues with inconsistency at times and will look bad. I think it's a youth factor.
"We all knew Kirby could hit, and she's proven this year she can hit for power. We have her in a position in the lineup where we can utilize her. She had a rough day at practice yesterday so I was very proud of her performance today. When she has good pitch selection like she did today, the likelihood of her getting a hit goes way up.
While Kirby was leading a 12-hit attack by the Lady Techsters, junior Krissi Oliver was steady in the circle. Oliver (9-9) picked up the win, allowing three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings of action.
"Krissi did a good job of getting ahead in the count," Dawson said. "She also did a nice job of retiring their leadoff batter. We have to do a better job defensively behind her and all of our pitchers. We can't always rely on getting 12 runs. That was my challenge to our team after the game. We have to be ready to come out tomorrow and perform better defensively than we did today."
The game was scoreless through two innings before Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Heather Doiron led the fame off with a walk and then scored on a single by Danielle Sheridan and a two-base error by the NMSU rightfielder.
The score remained tight until the top of the fifth inning. Waits drew a one-out walk and then scored on an RBI double by Regan Clark down the left field line, making the score 3-0. Kylie Bassett walked and Oliver struck out swinging for the second out of the frame.
Kirby followed with a mammoth three-run home run over the left field wall, upping the Tech advantage to 6-0.
"It was nice to see production out of the entire lineup," Dawson said. "You always know coming to New Mexico State, Utah State and Nevada where the air is thin and the ball flies farther that you have to score more runs to win games.
"I thought it was an interesting precursor how well we hit the ball last weekend against Hawaii. For us to do that against them told me we had crossed a threshold. Now we need to do it consistently."
NMSU got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run by Kristi Randall.
However, any chance of an Aggies rally was doused by Tech in the top of the sixth inning when the Lady Techsters exploded for six runs on five hits and one NMSU error.
In the fame, Doiron recorded her first career home run to lead the inning off and Kirby launched her second dinger - a two-run shot over the left field wall. Waits also recorded a two-run triple to right centerfield.
NMSU scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning but the game was called due to the eight-run rule.
In addition to Kirby's offensive heroics, Waits added two hits and three RBI while Barnes, Sheridan, Clark, Bassett, Oliver and Doiron each had one hit.
Wanda Malone came on in relief of Oliver in the sixth inning and allowed one earned run in 1.0 inning of work.
The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at 2 p.m.