ULM’s late rally denies Techsters in Menzina’s return

Louisiana Tech’s Lady Techsters, wearing pink jerseys for cancer awareness, celebrate a score Tuesday evening against ULM. (Photo by TOM MORRIS)

Staff Writer

Sophomore Kylie Neel recorded three hits and freshman Lauren Menzina was solid in the circle, but Louisiana Tech saw Louisiana-Monroe plate two late runs to record a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Lady Techsters Tuesday night at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

Menzina, making her first start in more than a month after coming back from an injury in early March, allowed four runs -– only two earned -– on six hits in 5.0 innings. The Cedar Creek High School product didn’t allow an extra base hit in the loss.

“I was really proud of Lauren,” said Tech interim head coach Bianca Duran. “She was coming back from an injury. I was really proud of how she came out tonight, really commanding all of her pitches. Yesterday in the bullpen we worked really hard on that change up and she showed up with her change today. I was really proud of her for keeping us in the game and giving us a chance.”

ULM (11-20) jumped out to a 3-0 lead, plating one in the second and two more in the top of the fourth inning. However, Menzina limited the damage and her teammates answered offensively in the bottom of the fourth.

Tech (13-19) plated four runs on five hits, including an RBI single by Caroline Easom, a two-run single by Jordyn Manning and an RBI double by Neel to give the Lady Techsters the 4-3 advantage. Tech ran ULM starter Gianni Hulett in the fourth inning and then ran reliever Adrianna Chavarria in the fifth.

However, ULM senior Amber Coons came on and held Tech hitless over the final 2.2 innings, recording five strikeouts in picking up her second win of the season.

“We did a great job offensively of running those first two pitchers,” said Duran. “Pitch to pitch we were on point. The girls were communicating really well on what they were seeing and the adjustments they needed to make. When they brought in (Coons) we just weren’t as sharp. Give her credit. We were chasing. Overall, she was in control, and we struggled to take her confidence away from her.”

In addition to Neel’s three-hit performance, KB Briley and Easom each registered two hits.

The Lady Techsters will head to Alabama-Birmingham this weekend for a four-game series against the Blazers.

“UAB is good,” Duran said. “They are good and they are going to come out fired up. It will be a good weekend series for us. I want us to bring the same energy we brought today. I thought we were fired up early today. The one thing we can’t do is become deflated when a team answers back at us.

“We have to see consistency this weekend. Consistency in the circle. Consistency defensively. Consistency offensively. If we will consistently show up pitch for pitch and really fight for everything, then I will take what the results are at the end of the weekend.”

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