@LATechSB Opens C-USA Tournament Wednesday
May 9, 2017
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Louisiana Tech enters the 2017 Conference USA Softball Tournament with a chip on its shoulder.
Despite winning the Conference USA West Division title for the first time in program history, the Lady Techsters entered the last three weeks of the season with a chance to win the regular season title, sitting in a two-way tie with Marshall.
However, Tech (33-21) dropped five of its last nine league games, including suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of FIU in the final weekend, and dropped to the third seed in this league's eight-team, four-day tournament.
Simply put, the Lady Techsters enter this week feeling they have something to prove ... to themselves.
Head coach Mark Montgomery's team will open play Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of 6-seed Charlotte and 7-seed North Texas. The 49ers and Mean Green face off earlier on Wednesday in a 2:30 p.m. match-up.
Every Louisiana Tech game during the tournament will be broadcast live on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM (Saturday's championship game would be on KPCH 99.3) with the pregame show starting 15 minutes prior to first pitch. It can also be heard on the Louisiana Tech X mobile app or the Red Peach Media app.
Fans can also watch a live video stream of the games on beIN Sports official YouTube channel or by downloading the beIN Sports app.
While seeds No. 3 through No. 8 will play a game of survival on Wednesday -- the losers of the four games are all done for the tournament -- the two left standing will advance to Thursday and join Marshall and FIU for the double elimination portion of the tournament. The winner earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"We did a lot of great things this year," said Montgomery. "I'm proud of the hard work that our players have put in since last season ended. We have accomplished some of our team goals. However, there is still one big one left.
"All eight teams have come to Hattiesburg to win a championship. Only one will succeed this week and I feel we have the talent, the work ethic and the desire to be the last one standing. It won't be easy, but winning a championship never is. We have to take one game at a time, one inning at a time, one out at a time and one pitch at a time."
Wednesday's action starts at noon when No. 5 seed UAB faces No. 8 seed WKU at noon followed by Charlotte and North Texas at 2:30 p.m. The winner of UAB and WKU then faces No. 4 seed Florida Atlantic at 5 p.m.
Tech swept a three-game series from North Texas in April while the Lady Techsters took two of three against Charlotte in early March to open conference action. Both series were played in Ruston.
"We don't care who we play," said Montgomery. "We know that both teams are talented and have their strengths. It's a matter of us going out and executing and playing to our best level. If we do that, then I will take whatever the results are this week."
Tech is led offensively by first team all-conference outfielder Morgan Turkoly (.398, 33 runs, 34 RBI), first team all-CUSA utility Ali Galaz (.333, 10 doubles, 25 RBI), second team outfielder Jazlyn Crowder (.293, 16 doubles, 42 runs) and second team catcher Marilyn Rizzato (.240, 5 HR, 30 RBI) along with a host of other productive players.
"I feel like we have a very productive lineup from top to bottom when we take the right approach to the plate," said Montgomery.
The depth of the LA Tech pitching staff might be its biggest strength led by first team all-conference honoree Krystal De La Cruz (10-3, 2.03 ERA) and second team all-conference honoree Preslee Gallaway (14-12, 2.77 ERA). Tech also has the ability to throw last year's first team all-CUSA honoree Bailey Allen (7-2, 2.02 ERA) or freshman Jenny Chapman (2-4, 3.18 ERA).
Fans can follow in-game updates through Twitter (@LATechSB).
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