@LATechSB Downs WKU in C-USA Tournament
May 9, 2018
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- Despite dropping three games in El Paso in the final weekend of the regular season, Louisiana Tech proved it still has a strong pulse as the Lady Techsters looked dominate in a 6-1 win over WKU at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium Wednesday in the first day of the Conference USA Tournament.
With the victory, Tech (34-21) advanced to the double elimination portion of the tournament and will face C-USA regular season champion Florida Atlantic Thursday at 1 p.m. CT. The game can be heard on KNBB 97.7 FM or on the Louisiana Tech X mobile app or seen on the Conference USA Youtube channel.
The Lady Techsters plated three runs in the second and third innings to jump out to an early lead and then rode the right arm of Preslee Gallaway and solid defense to the victory.
"I couldn't be more proud of how we responded," said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. "To say this team was devastated at losing out on the regular season title last weekend is an understatement. This team believes in itself and I believe feels it has something to prove this week. This group wants to win this tournament and you can feel it. I was very pleased with how we played today in a loser-go-home game that had a lot of pressure on it."
Tech took advantage of a costly error in the bottom of the second inning to take the lead. With two outs, Ali Galaz reached on a fielding error by WKU shortstop Brittany Vaughn to keep the inning alive. Marilyn Rizzato followed with a walk and both runners scored on a two-out, two-run double by freshman Bayli Simon to left centerfield.
Karlee Jensen drove Simon home with an RBI single to right field, giving the Lady Techsters a 3-0 lead.
"I thought it was key for us to get off to a good start and scoring the three runs with two outs in the second inning did that," said Montgomery. "We came up with two big hits by Bayli and Karlee and that really set the tone for us."
Tech added to its lead in the bottom of the third inning. WKU reliever Haylee Towers walked Morgan Turkoly and Katie Smith to start the frame before Hilltopper starter Shelby Nunn re-entered the game. After Sloane Stewartson move the runners to second and third with a ground out back to the pitcher, Jazlyn Crowder singled through the right side of the infield to score both runners and up the advantage to 5-0.
On the play, Crowder advanced to third on an error. Galaz followed with a perfectly executed suicide squeeze to score the run. Tech led 6-0.
Gallaway cruised until the top of the sixth inning. WKU recorded back-to-back hits, including a run-scoring double by Kendall Smith to cut the Tech advantage to 6-1 before Gallaway recorded the final out.
Krystal De La Cruz came on in relief in the seventh and retired three of the four batters she faced to end the game.
Gallaway (18-8) picked up the win, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with one strikeout in 6.0 innings of action.
Crowder (2-3, run, 2 RBI), Simon (1-3, run, 2 RBI), Kimmie Atienza (2-4), Turkoly (run), Smith (run), Galaz (run, RBI), Rizzato (1-1, run), Berkley Calapp (1-1) and Jensen (1-2, RBI) led Tech offensively.
"I thought we played some really good defense behind Preslee," said Montgomery. "She bounced back from a tough weekend in the circle, but we also were really solid in the field. Karlee made some really nice plays at second base. It was a total team win."
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