LA Tech completes perfect softball weekend to start 5-0

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GULF SHORES, Ala. – Louisiana Tech completed a perfect start to its season Sunday with an 8-4 win over Missouri State as the Lady Techsters completed the Sand Dollar Classic as the only undefeated team in the event.

For the second straight day, senior Krystal De La Cruz (2-0) was phenomenal in the circle while red-shirt freshman Mary Terral came through with a clutch 3-run home run late giving the Lady Techsters some breathing room.

Junior Jenny Chapman picked up her first save of the year, recording a momentum-swinging strikeout in the bottom of the sixth when Missouri State had the go-ahead run on second base.

Tech (5-0) grabbed an early lead and continued to push runs across over the first five innings, eventually building a 5-0 advantage. However, after De La Cruz retired 14 of the first 15 batters she faced, Missouri State (3-2) finally recorded back-to-back hits with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the deficit to 5-1.

Senior Preslee Gallaway came on in relief in the sixth and for the first time in five games struggled. Missouri State recorded four hits and one walk against Gallaway to plate three runs in the frame and close the gap to 5-4.

Chapman, seeing her first action of the week, came on with runners on second and third. After falling behind in the count 3-0 on her first batter, Chapman came back and struck out Missouri State’s Darby Joerling swinging to end the threat and maintain the one-rule lead.

It appeared as if Tech would go quietly in the top of the seventh inning as the first two outs were recorded. However, Zoe Hicks drew a walk and Marilyn Rizzato followed with a double to left field to put runners on second and third with two outs. Terral, who prepped at Cedar Creek High School, belted her third home run of the season to straight away centerfield, giving Tech an 8-4 lead.

Chapman worked around a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh to record the save.

Tech, which starts the season 5-0 for the second time in the last three seasons, started the game strong when Kimmie Atienza doubled and then scored on a pair of throwing errors in the top of the first inning.

Morgan Turkoly gave Tech a 2-0 lead in the third with a one-out RBI single to right field, scoring Lindsay Edwards who led the frame off with a single. Tech scratched for another run in the fourth without the benefit of a hit after Rizzato walked, moved to second on a ground out and then scored on a fielding error by the MSU second baseman.

More defensive miscues plagued Missouri State in the fifth as another two-out error – this one by the Bears third baseman – allowed two runs to score as both Turkoly and Jazlyn Crowder scored on the play. Tech led 5-0 setting up the final harrowing ending.

De La Cruz allowed just one run on two hits and no walks with four strikeouts in five innings of action to pick up the win one day after beating Auburn.

Offensively, Atienza (2-4, run, SB), Turkoly (1-3, run, RBI), Crowder (run), Hicks (run), Rizzato (1-3, 2 runs), Terral (1-3, HR, run, 3 RBI), Simon (1-4), Edwards (1-3, run), and Sloane Stewartson (1-3) led the Lady Techsters.

Tech will host Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday at 5 p.m. in its home opener before hosting the three-day, five-team LA Tech Classic Friday-Sunday.

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