March 28, 2013
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech will host its first Western Athletic Conference series of the year this weekend when the Lady Techsters welcome UT Arlington to the Lady Techster Softball Complex Friday and Saturday.
Due to the weather forecast for Saturday, the series schedule has been altered as the two teams are now scheduled to play a doubleheader Friday starting at 5 p.m. and a single game Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission is free to all LA Tech home games.
Tech (14-15, 1-2 WAC) is coming off an impressive 8-0 win over Northwestern State in a mid-week contest played Wednesday night in a game that saw the Lady Techsters hand the Demons their first run-rule loss of the year.
The series against the Mavs will pit the WAC's top offensive team in the Lady Techsters against the WAC's top pitching staff in UT Arlington (17-13, 2-1 WAC). Tech enters the game sporting a .320 team batting average while UT Arlington is ranked nationally in team earned run average (ERA) at 1.89.
"It's important to do well at home," said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. "We want to capitalize on the momentum from (the Northwestern State game) and we need to carry that into this weekend. If we can be the same team that we were today, we can meet with some good success. Arlington is a tough team that will really challenge us. They have two of the top pitchers in the WAC in terms of ERA and what they are getting done. We need to execute offensively like we did (against Northwestern State)."
UT Arlington, which took two out of three at home against Seattle last weekend, relies upon the arms of Teri Lyles and Callie Collins who ranks No. 1 and No. 3 respectively in the WAC in ERA. Lyles is 15-5 on the year with a 1.77 ERA while Collins is 2-8 but with a 2.07 ERA. The duo also ranks second and third in strikeouts.
Offensively, UT Arlington has struggled, sporting a team batting average of .235 while averaging 2.9 runs per game this season. The Mavs have recorded only seven home runs in 30 games.
Tech counters in the circle with the one-two punch of senior Michelle Jones (8-8, 3.26) and freshman Anna Cross (2-2, 3.00) along with an arsenal out of the pen that includes Melanie Goff (1-1, 3.44), Janna Frandrup (0-2, 7.00) and Erin Kipp (3-2, 5.25). Jones has made 17 starts and recorded three shutouts this year while Cross has emerged recently as a highly effective starter as she tossed a one-hit shutout against NSU Wednesday.
Offensively, Tech boasts eight regulars batting over .300 led by freshman Kristen Miles (.420, 23 runs, 11-12 SB), who leads the league in hitting. Goff (.391, 16 RBI), Erin Kipp (.373, 14 RBI, 9-11 SB), Alayna Kipp (.343, 12 RBI), Meghan Knowles (.333, 3 HR, 13 RBI), Cross (.333, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 15-16 SB), Frandrup (.329, 14 RBI) and Amanda Krueger (.310, 4 HR, 16 RBI) are all above the .300 mark.
Fans can follow all of the action this weekend via live stats at www.LATechSports.com and via Twitter updates at @LATechSB. Fans can also access a live audio and video feed of the games by purchasing a subscription to LA Tech All-Access at www.LATechSports.com. Fans are encouraged to become a fan of the Lady Techster Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LouisianaTechSoftball.