BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky – It’s now or never for Louisiana Tech.
Eight teams are standing and only one will remain by Saturday as the 2021 Conference USA Softball Championships get under way today at the Western Kentucky Softball Complex.
LA Tech (22-29) enters the tournament as the No. 6 seed and will face the No. 7 seeded Marshall Thundering Herd (19-12) at 2:30 p.m. in a game that can be seen on ESPN+.
In order for Tech to advance to Thursday when the double elimination portion of the tournament begins, the Lady Techsters must defeat Marshall and No. 3 seed Charlotte (7:30 p.m. today). One loss and the Tech season comes to and end.
“When we are firing on all cylinders and doing the little things, we play well,” said Tech interim head coach Bianca Duran. “We have to continue to fight and rise above any adversity we face over the course of the week. If we come out with energy and score some runs early, it sets a strong tone for us. This team has a lot of fight in them, and I’m excited to see what we can do this week to bounce back from last weekend.”
Tech enters the tournament coming off a four-game sweep at the hands of the No. 1 seed North Texas this past weekend at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.
“In order to make a run for this week we have to take it one game at a time and just have fun with it,” said senior pitcher Bre Hernandez. “We need to celebrate the little things and to compete every pitch and every at bat.”
Hernandez is the ace of the Tech staff, entering the tournament with a 9-10 record in the circle and a 3.25 earned run average.
Tech and Marshall did not meet this year in league play with no crossover series between the West Division and the East Division. The last time the two programs met came in 2019 when the Lady Techsters defeated the Herd 3-1 in the 2019 C-USA Championship game.
Only three Tech players remain from that team, including junior third baseman Lindsay Edwards.
“This team needs to have consistency at the plate this week in order to back up our pitching,” said Edwards. “Our pitchers have been able to keep us in tough games, but our hitting has sometimes fallen short. I think if we all play how we know we can and stay confident in the box, we will be able to make a run at this week.”
Marshall enters the tournament as one of the top offensive teams in Conference USA as the Thundering Herd have hit 47 home runs on the season led by first team all-conference infielder Ally Harrell (.400, 10 HR, 27 RBI).
Three Lady Techsters were honored on Tuesday as pitcher Lauren Menzina, utility Tristin Court and outfielder Kylie Neel were all named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team.