Late Runs Propel LA Tech Over North Texas, 5-3
Nicole Ochotnicki Goes 2-for-3 In The Loss
RUSTON, Louisiana -- After a six-hour rain delay, Louisiana Tech used two late-inning runs to secure a 5-3 victory over North Texas on Saturday night at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
"This is a game of inches," head coach Tracey Kee said. "We get a tipped ball that advances their runners, we hit a shot that lands at 217 when the fence is 218 and missed a pitch here and there, but credit to LA Tech. They capitalized on the fact that we couldn't punch an out for awhile and strung their hits together to get runs across."
Freshman Nicole Ochotnicki paced the offense with a 2-for-3 showing with one RBI.
LA Tech's Preslee Gallaway secured the win after throwing five innings allowing three runs on four hits with four strikeouts opposed to one walk. North Texas' Stacey Underwood (12-12) was dealt the loss, allowing five runs with three walks and one strikeout in five innings of work.
"Stacey got better as the game went on," Kee added. "It's hard when you are pitching on turf instead of dirt and trying to figure out an umpire's zone against a very good hitting team."
It didn't take long for North Texas (24-25, 11-11 C-USA) to get on the board as senior Kelli Schkade opened the game with a solo home run to left field, giving North Texas a 1-0 lead.
After leaving a runner on third in the first inning, the Lady Techsters (31-18, 14-5 C-USA) took a 3-1 lead in the second highlighted by Marilyn Rizzato's two-run home run to left field.
North Texas cut the deficit to one in the fourth on Ochotnicki's two-out double down the line in left, scoring senior Danielle Gregory from first. Sophomore Hannah Gerecke tied the game at three with a solo home run to left-center field in the top half of the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, LA Tech's Morgan Turkoly walked and later scored on Ali Galaz's sacrifice fly to center to put her team ahead, 4-3.
North Texas threatened in the sixth as sophomore Bailey Thompson and Danielle Gregory logged back-to-back two-out singles, but LA Tech's center fielder took away an extra-base hit from Ochotnicki to prevent two runs from scoring.
The Lady Techsters added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Karlee Jensen plated Katie Smith with a sacrifice fly to center.
Krystal De La Cruz pitched a perfect seventh inning to secure the save and the 5-3 victory.
"For us, it's going to take some good pitching and putting a whole game together from the top of our lineup to the bottom to get out of here with a series victory," Kee said. "Tomorrow is their Senior Day and we know we have our work cut out, but it's doable to get out of here with two wins."
- Nicole Ochotnicki tallied her fourth multi-hit game of the season with a two-hit performance.
- Kelli Schkade's home run in the first was her ninth, a team best.
- Hannah Gerecke's home run in the fifth inning was her third of the season. She pushed her reached base streak to seven, her longest of the season.
- Sophomore Bailey Thompson went 1-for-1 off the bench for the Mean Green.
- The loss was the seventh in conference action by two or less runs for North Texas.
- North Texas falls to 18-9 when scoring first.
- Saturday was supposed to be played as a doubleheader, but weather prevented the teams from playing two games.
Up Next For The Mean Green
North Texas and LA Tech will play a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 1 p.m.