LA Tech Athletics weekend roundup

Former Cedar Creek star Lauren Menzina tossed 4.0 scoreless innings in the Lady Techsters 8-0 win over SEMO Sunday. (Photo by Darrell James)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

Lady Techsters 4, SEMO 0

Lady Techsters 8, SEMO 0

Lady Techsters 6, SEMO 1

Behind dominant pitching and a variety of strong offensive performances, the Louisiana Tech Softball team swept a three-game series against Southeast Missouri by scores of 4-0, 8-0 (6 inn.) and 6-1 Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

Tech (3-0) now has won 15 consecutive games at The Billy, which is the fifth-longest home winning streak in the country, while its 3-0 start is the best since 2019. With the sweep, Tech won its eighth consecutive three-game series dating back to April 12, 2022.

Six Tech pitchers combined to allow just one run over 20 innings of action as the Lady Techsters outscored SEMO 18-1 during the three-game sweep.

Brooke Melnychuk, Lauren Menzina and Allie Floyd all picked up wins in the circle, tossing shutout innings in their respective starts. Emma Hutchinson, Mary Martinez and Alyssa Martin combined for five innings of relief with only one run allowed (coming with two outs in the top of the 7th of Sunday’s finale).

Melnychuk (1-0) worked 5.0 scoreless innings in Saturday’s 4-0 win, striking out the side in the first inning. Tech scored three runs in the first inning without a hit thanks to three hit batters, two walks, and two fielding mistakes by the SEMO shortstop. Caroline Easom drove in the fourth run of the game with an RBI single.

Menzina (1-0) allowed just two hits in 4.0 innings of action in Sunday’s first game to pick up the win. Once again, Tech plated four runs in the first with three coming on a 3-run home run by Katelin Cooper. The Lady Techsters outhit SEMO 8-4, including back-to-back solo home runs by Jordyn Manning and Bailey Wright that ended the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Floyd (1-0) was stellar in her collegiate debut, tossing 6.0 scoreless frames allowing just five hits and one walk. Six different Techsters recorded an RBI in the win while Sierra Sacco had three hits and the Lady Techsters totaled six doubles in the second game of the day.

The Lady Techsters will travel to face Southeastern Louisiana Wednesday at 5 p.m.


Florida Atlantic 90, Bulldogs 85 (OT)

Louisiana Tech was on the cusp of upsetting the top team in Conference USA on their home court, but the Bulldogs ended up falling in overtime, 90-85, to Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon inside Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.

LA Tech (13-12, 6-8 C-USA) led for the majority of the first half, but FAU (24-2, 14-1 C-USA) clawed back to knot it up at 41-41. In the second half, it was the Owls who sprinted out to a big 15-point lead, but the Bulldogs battled back to even the game at 76-76 to send it to OT.

The ‘Dogs never had the lead though in the extra frame, getting outscored 14-9, in their effort to hand the Owls their first home loss of the season.

“It came down to the little things that kept us from winning the basketball game,” said head coach Talvin Hester. “A couple of loose balls, a couple of offensive rebounds after having a great defensive possession. I thought we were great defensively all day, but we were not securing rebounds. We have to be better in that area.

“I am not a moral victory guy, but I feel like in this game we got better. We believed. We followed the plan. If we get rid of just a fewer mistakes.”

LA Tech built an early 17-7 lead, thanks to a 10-0 run that included a pair of deep three-pointers by Keaston Willis who returned to the starting lineup after dealing with a toe injury. That would be their largest lead of the game as the Owls stayed within striking distance.

With the Bulldogs clinging to a 50-49 advantage with 14:37 to go, FAU forced six turnovers and tacked on a dozen second-chance points during a 16-0 run that put the home team ahead, 65-50.

Isaiah Crawford stopped the bleeding with a three-pointer, and then almost single-handedly pulled the Bulldogs out of the deep hole. The forward had a stretch of scoring 13 of the ‘Dogs 18 points, getting the deficit back to a one-possession game with three minutes remaining.

LA Tech was able to tie it up on an old-fashioned three-point play by Cobe Williams, making it 76-all with 33 seconds left. A defensive stop by the Bulldogs forced overtime, but the Owls quickly made a 5-0 run in OT, establishing a lead they would not surrender.

The big three of Crawford (season-tying 25 points), Williams (20), and Willis (18) combined for 63 points, going 22-of-39 from the field and 9-of-19 from beyond the arc. The team shot 51.7 percent from the field.

FAU got a game-high 26 points from Alijah Martin, eight of that coming in overtime. The Owls had the advantage in two statistical categories – 26 second-chance points and 20 made free throws (got the line 10 more times than LA Tech).


Lady Techsters 68, Florida Atlantic 56

Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team picked up a wire-to-wire win over Florida Atlantic at home Saturday afternoon, 68-56, thanks to a 22-point fourth quarter and a perfect night from the free throw line going 20-20. 

Keiunna Walker scored a game-high 22 to go along with six rebounds and a season-high six assists, drew three charges, and hit all 10 of her free throws. Anna Larr Roberson added 16 points for the second straight game with five rebounds. 

“When we needed stops today we dug in and got them,” said head coach Brooke Stoehr. “We needed to see that toughness. We’ve lost some of those games this year when we have lost focus in those moments. I’m very proud of how we started and finished. It got a little tough in the middle, but they have some players that are very physical and talented and made it tough for us. I love how we responded to those challenges.”

LA Tech (14-10, 7-7 C-USA) put together another good start to the game with a 9-2 run and held FAU (12-11, 5-9 C-USA) without a field goal over the first four minutes. Tech added an 8-3 run thanks to six early points from Amaya Brannon off the bench to build a 19-9 lead after one. 

The Techsters did not let the break stop their momentum as they rattled off a 10-2 run to begin the second period to build their largest game lead at 18 points (29-11). The Owls quickly responded with an 11-2 run, and after a Gabbie Green three, added an 8-0 run to cut Tech’s halftime lead to seven (36-29). 

In the third, FAU continued to chip away as Tech struggled to score, making it a one-point ball game before Tech got a stop and a bucket to finish the third stanza 46-43. 

After FAU scored early to cut the lead back to one, Tech pushed for a 7-0 run capped off by a Lotte Sant three that moved her into No. 7 all-time in career-made threes to give the Techsters some breathing room, 53-45, with 4:53 remaining.

FAU continued to battle, but another Sant three and six Walker free throws held the Owls off as Tech picked up the homestand sweep.

LA Tech is now 9-0 when outrebounding opponents (32-30) and 10-0 when holding opponents under 60 points.

Sant added nine points on three three-pointers and grabbed three rebounds, while Brannon chipped in eight with two steals.


Lady Techsters 6, ULM 1 (Tennis)

The Louisiana Tech tennis team won all six singles courts via straight sets, cruising to a 6-1 victory over I-20 neighbor ULM on Sunday afternoon at the LA Tech Tennis Complex.

The last three matches between LA Tech (6-1) and ULM (1-6) were all nail biters, concluding in 4-3 scores.  The Lady Techsters picked up a 4-3 win last season in Ruston versus the Warhawks, and improved on that result in dominating fashion Sunday.

It was the Warhawks though that struck first, snatching the doubles point with tiebreaker wins on courts one and three.  In doing so, they fought off a combined five match points to go up 1-0 in the team match.

However, it was all LA Tech in singles.  Olga Bienzobas set the tone at the No. 2 position, handing Alice Klinteby her first loss of the spring with a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

Her doubles partner, Ana Rodrigues, was equally as impressive at the No. 5 spot.  She surrendered just three games to defeat Tamara Bachmann 6-1, 6-2 to give LA Tech a 2-1 advantage.

Extending the Lady Techsters lead was Najah Dawson who took care of Angela del Campo at the No. 3 position, 6-2, 6-2.  Seconds later, Ilana Tetruashvili won five straight games in the second set to down Mariam Hatem, 6-1, 7-5 and clinch the victory for LA Tech.

While Tetruashvili remained undefeated in dual singles this spring, so did Leonie Schuknecht who outlasted Alessandra Anghel 6-4, 7-5 on court one.  Anghel battled back from down 2-5 to even it up at 5-all in the second set before Schuknecht closed things out with back-to-back game wins.

The last match to finish up was Tiffani Nash who collected her sixth singles win, claiming five straight games in the second set to win 6-2, 6-3 over Giovanna Pereira at No. 4.