Knowles, Goff Lead Techsters to Win
May 5, 2012
FRESNO - Junior Meghan Knowles blasted a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning and Melanie Goff recorded an impressive performance in the circle to lead Louisiana Tech to a 6-4 win over Fresno State at Bulldog Diamond in the second game of a Western Athletic Conference doubleheader on Saturday.
Fresno State (33-21, 13-6) won the first game 4-0. Ironically, the two teams will meet Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT in the first round of the 2012 WAC Tournament in Las Cruces with the Bulldogs entering as the No. 3 seed and Tech as the No. 6 seed.
Tech (23-31, 8-12 WAC) became the first WAC team this season to defeat Fresno State at Bulldog Diamond as the Bulldogs were 10-1 at home in league games. After having never beaten Fresno State in Fresno until 2010, the Lady Techsters have now accomplished the feat three straight seasons under head coach Sarah Dawson.
The Lady Techsters overcame a controversial call by the umpiring crew in the bottom of the sixth inning that led to the game-tying run by the Bulldogs. Leading 4-3 after an RBI single by Amanda Krueger with two outs in the top of the sixth, Tech was six outs away from the win.
Pinch hitter Michelle Solomon led the bottom of the sixth off for Fresno State. Solomon lined a pitch down the third base line - called foul immediately by home plate umpire Jennifer Smith. However, after Fresno State coach Margie Wright argued the call, the umpires met and overturned the call and then awarded Solomon a double on the play.
After a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to third, Brooke Ortiz lined a triple to centerfield, scoring the tying run. However, Goff, who picked up her second straight win in the circle, induced back-to-back ground ball outs to Knowles at first base end the inning without allowing Ortiz to score the go-ahead run from third.
Goff then led off the top of the seventh inning and reached on a fielding error by Ortiz. After Dacia Hale sacrifice Goff to second base, Knowles lined a two-two pitch deep over the left field fence for her sixth home run of the year to give Tech the two-run lead.
"Throughout the day each of her at bats got better and better," Dawson said. "Meghan was pretty zoned in today. She had nailed a couple of balls foul in previous at bats and even in that one. She was not getting fooled. We were all pretty motivated in the last inning after what had happened in the bottom of the sixth. I was proud of the girls for responding in that fashion."
Goff (2-5) took the circle in the bottom of the seventh to face the heart of the Bulldog order and promptly retired three straight batters on ground balls to seal the win. The San Diego native allowed four runs - only two earned - on six hits and two walks while tossing only 95 pitches in the complete-game performance.
"She did a good job today," Dawson said. "Even after we gave up three runs after we had a three-run lead. She really settled down. I was proud of her composure. It was important that she never gave up the lead; we never got behind. We didn't dig ourselves a hole. She took her time, was in control and hit her spots."
Tech took an early 1-0 lead when Katelynn Hill led the game off with her sixth home run of the season, a solo shot over the left centerfield fence giving the Lady Techsters the momentum.
After Goff pitched her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the first inning, Tech added two more runs in the top of the third inning. Hill walked and Krueger reached on a throwing error by the Bulldog third baseman to put runners on first and second for Goff, who singled sharply off Fresno State pitcher Michelle Moses' glove, driving home Hill for a 2-0 lead.
Hale then walked to load the bases for Knowles, who came within a few feet of hitting a grand slam home run. However, her sacrifice fly to centerfield plated Krueger for Tech's second run of the inning and the third of the game.
Fresno State responded in the bottom of the third, tying the game with three runs on three hits and two costly Tech errors.
Neither team scored in the fourth or fifth innings, setting up the action-filled final two frames of the game.
Hill was 2-of-3 at the plate with the home run while Knowles was 1-of-3 with three RBI. Goff and Krueger each added one hit and one RBI while Frandrup and Hale each registered a hit.
Moses (21-14) took the loss for Fresno State, allowing six runs - four earned - on seven hits and six walks in 6.1 innings of action.
In the first game of the day, Mackenzie Oakes (10-5) tossed a complete-game shutout for the Bulldogs as she allowed only four hits and no walks in the game.
Fresno State plated two runs in the first inning to get the early lead and never looked back. The Bulldogs added one in the fifth and sixth innings of Lady Techster starter Michelle Jones (14-15), who took the loss in the circle.
Jones was one of the lone bright spots offensively in the game for Tech, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Hale and Knowles each registered a single in the game for the Lady Techsters.
Tech now heads to Las Cruces for the WAC Tournament where it will open play Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT against Fresno State. LA Tech, Hawaii and Fresno State are the only three WAC teams that have qualified for every WAC Tournament since it was reinstated in 2006.