May 12, 2012
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Fresno State used some stellar defensive plays and a season-high 14 hits to defeat Louisiana Tech 11-2 in an elimination game of the 2012 Western Athletic Conference Tournament Friday at the New Mexico State Softball Field.
The Bulldogs victory avenged a 17-7 loss to the Lady Techsters in the first game of the tournament and snapped a two-game losing streak against LA Tech.
Fresno State's outfield recorded a trifecta of web gems during the game - one each by left fielder Andrea Ortega, centerfielder Brenna Moss and right fielder Kaylan Pollard - that robbed the Lady Techsters of a minimum of six runs.
Pollard started the trend in the bottom of the first inning when she made a catch with her back to the ball to rob Melanie Goff of extra bases and the Lady Techsters of the first run of the game.
With Fresno State leading 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Ortega took what would have been a bases-clearing double away from Janna Frandrup for the final out of the inning on a lunging grab of a line drive in left centerfield.
Finally, Pollard ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when she made a running catch of a line drive in right centerfield off the bat of Erin Kipp that would have scored two more runs and prevented the eight-run rule.
Holding onto a slim 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, Fresno State scored five runs on six hits against Lady Techster starter Melanie Goff. The Bulldogs benefited from a number of perfectly placed hits as only Michelle Moses leadoff double was hit hard off of Goff.
After a 70-minute rain and lightning delay, Tech came out in the bottom of the third and loaded the bases before Dacia Hale struck out to end the threat.
Tech finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run by Meghan Knowles over the right centerfield fence. It was Knowles eighth home run of the season and her third off of Moses in as many games.
The Lady Techsters then loaded the bases in the fourth before Ortega robbed Frandrup with her spectacular catch in left centerfield.
Fresno State then added three more runs in the top of the fifth inning to push the advantage to 11-1. Tech responded in the bottom of the frame as Kendra Harmon recorded a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Goff from third and cutting the deficit to 11-2. After Alayna Kipp walked to put runners on first and second, Erin Kipp lined a pitch to deep right centerfield that Moss tracked down for the final out of the game.
Tech recorded two wins in the WAC Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons and all 11 of the Lady Techsters postseason league victories have come against higher seeds.