Feb. 2, 2014
NOTE: Friday's schedule has been altered due to weather. First game will begin at 12 p.m. as the Lady Techsters face UT-Martin. For the complete schedule, click on the tournament central link above.
RUSTON - For the first time since 2008, Louisiana Tech will open the season at home as it hosts the three-day, six-team, 12-game tournament starting Friday and running through Sunday at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
Tickets for the Lady Techster Invitational are $10 per day for adults ($5 for youth age 3-17) and $20 for a three-day, all-tournament pass ($10 for youth). Tickets can only be purchased at the facility on days of competition with CASH ONLY. Credit cards, debit cards nor checks will be accepted.
Head coach Mark Montgomery and Co. welcome UT Martin, Saint Louis, Wichita State, Houston Baptist and Jackson State to Ruston for the round robin event that will see all six teams play five games each. The Lady Techsters open the event Friday morning when they host UT Martin at 9 a.m. as Friday and Saturday's action will consist of six games each day and Sunday will consist of three games.
Gametracker will be available on LATechSports.com for each game of the tournament. Video for only the games involving LA Tech will be available by purchasing a subscription to LA Tech All-Access (go to LATechSports.com).
Montgomery said that he is excited about opening the season at home and providing an opportunity for local fans to watch not only his team, but five other talented teams from other areas of the country.
"First and foremost, we need to play more games at home," said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. "We need to engage this great community that loves softball. We have wonderful softball support around this area with the Ruston Girls Softball Association. Softball is huge in north Louisiana. We just need to engage that within the collegiate ranks at Louisiana Tech.
The Lady Techsters roster includes a combination of experience with nine returning letter winners and new blood with nine first year players, including six freshmen, two Division I transfers and one junior college signee.
Tech is coming off a 2013 season - Montgomery's first in Ruston - that saw the program post a 28-27 mark and record the highest finish of its 12-year affiliation with the Western Athletic Conference. Tech posted an 11-10 mark in WAC play and finished third.
In the circle, Montgomery feels he has the makings of a formidable staff in sophomore Anna Cross (2013 WAC Freshman of the Year), freshman Pauline Tufi (3-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Alaska) and junior Bianca Duran (36-2 with 1.11 ERA last year at Western Nebraska JC).
"We only have three pitchers (on the staff) so if there is a concern that is it," Montgomery said. "Three is plenty as long as no one gets hurt. We love what they bring to the table. They are so dynamic and so diametrically opposed. You have one that really moves it and works both sides of the plate. We have one that throws so hard. Another that throws up. It's going to be a challenge for hitters to face that in a game and make adjustments from one to the next.
"I really believe those three will be a real strength of this team. We are going to have good pitching. We want to keep teams in check early. I think it will help us early in the year as we find ourselves offensively."
Speaking of offense, Tech registered a program record team batting average last year. However, Montgomery felt as if his team lacked enough power throughout the lineup. This year things could change with a lineup that most of the time will include Erin Kipp (preseason All-CUSA), Cross (preseason All-CUSA), Tufi, Duran and Alayna Kipp.
For all the latest on the Lady Techster Softball team and all of Louisiana Tech's athletic programs, fans can log onto LATechSports.com. Fans can also stay updated with the softball program through Twitter at @LATechSB and by LIKING the Facebook page at Facebook.com/LouisianaTechSoftball.
UT Martin Skyhawks (Ohio Valley Conference)
Location: Martin, Tennessee
2013 Record: 37-20 (14-10/4th in OVC)
Returning/Lost LW: 11/8
Head coach: Donley Canary (407-289-1/13th season)
Wichita State Shockers (Missouri Valley Conference)
Location: Wichita, Kansas
2013 Record: 19-33 (10-16/8th in MVC)
Returning/Lost LW: 11/3
Head coach: Kristi Bredbenner (34-73/3rd season)
Saint Louis Billikens (Atlantic 10)
Location: St. Louis, MO
2013 Record: 28-23 (13-9/5th in A-10)
Returning/Lost LW: 10/5
Head coach: Christy Connoyer (80-80/4th season)
Houston Baptist Huskies (Southland Conference)
Location: Houston, Texas
2013 Record: 15-27 (6-20/9th in Southland)
Returning/Lost LW: 11/7
Head coach: Mary-Ellen Hall (706-380/23rd season)
Jackson State Lady Tigers (Southwestern Athletic Conference)
Location: Jackson, Miss.
2013 Record: 28-29 (13-4/1st in SWAC)
Returning/Lost LW: 6/8
Head coach: Rick Fremin (86-78/4th season)