LA Tech Softball honors seniors; heads to C-USA Championship

Zoe Hicks, Madie Green, Kara Goff, Audrey Pickett and Bre Hernandez were all honored on Senior Day following this weekend’s four-game series against North Texas. (Photo by DARRELL JAMES)

Staff report

Tears. Smiles. Disappointment. Happiness.

It was a weekend full of a range of emotions for five Louisiana Tech seniors as the Lady Techsters closed out their 2021 regular season with a four-game sweep at the hands of C-USA champion North Texas at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

Kara Goff, Madie Green, Bre Hernandez, Zoe Hicks and Audrey Pickett were all honored following Saturday’s doubleheader as the sun set on not only the day’s events, but the regular season in Ruston.

Four of the five still have a year of eligibility remaining due to the NCAA’s blanket waiver that gave every spring student-athletes a year back following a 2020 season canceled midway through by the COVID-19 pandemic..

Hicks, who took advantage of that waiver to return to Tech this year, is the only one that has exhausted eligibility. She has signed to play for the Wheat City Whisky Jacks of the Expedition (Baseball) League starting May 25, the first female to ever sign with the 12-team summer league.

While the celebration of their college careers was a joyous cap – those were happy and sad tears – to a tough weekend on the diamond. Tech fell 4-1, 5-4 (10 innings), 6-0 and 3-2 to the Mean Green in a weekend that saw the Lady Techsters manage just 10 hits in 31 innings.

Tech ended the regular season with a mark of 22-29, including a 10-10 finish in Conference USA action and a third place finish in the West Division.

The Lady Techsters will load a bus at lunchtime today and head to Bowling Green, Kentucky, in preparation for the 2021 Conference USA Softball Championships.

The four-day event will take place at WKU Softball Complex starting Wednesday and running through the championship game on Saturday.

Tech earned the No. 6 seed for the event and will open play Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against the No. 7 seed Marshall Thundering Herd. The game will be a rematch of the 2019 C-USA Championship game won by the Lady Techsters 3-1.

The four-day, eight-team tournament utilizes both single and double-elimination formats. Wednesday’s first round will be single elimination for competing teams, while the quarterfinals and semifinals are set up for double-elimination play.

Thus, in order for Tech to advance to the double elimination portion of the tournament, the Lady Techsters must defeat Marshall and No. 3 seed Charlotte on Wednesday. The Charlotte game would be at 7:30 p.m.

The Lady Techsters have won two of the past three C-USA Softball Championships, capturing the titles in both 2017 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and in 2019 in Birmingham, Alabama.

North Texas and Alabama-Birmingham earned the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds and will each receive a first-day bye while Charlotte, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, LA Tech, Marshall and UTSA round out the rest of the seeding.

All games leading up to Saturday’s championship will be streamed live on ESPN+, while the title game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network at noon CDT.

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