By Malcolm Butler
The scoreboard read 3-1 LSU over Louisiana Tech.
So yes, the Tigers got the mark in the win column.
But Lady Techster fans — heck college softball fans in north Louisiana — were the real winners Tuesday night. A record crowd of 1,100 fans (most of them in red and blue) were treated to a good ole fashioned pitchers duel at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field ultimately won by the No. 15 ranked Tigers.
Tech head coach Josh Taylor is going to be counting runners stranded in scoring position in his sleep. Tech stranded a cool dozen in the game, including seven over the final three innings. To say the Lady Techsters had their chances Tuesday night is an understatement.
But although they didn’t win the game, the defending Conference USA champions hopefully won some new fans. If you haven’t gotten a chance to come see Taylor and Co. … put it on your calendar. Tech has 21 more home games before ending the 2023 season in May by playing host to the Conference USA Championships in Ruston.
Plenty of chances.
Tuesday night’s loss snapped Tech’s 15-game home winning streak. The Lady Techsters had won 22 of their last 23 at The Billy. They are a tough gang of gals to defeat on their home turf.
And they play a fun brand of softball.
Great pitching has been the catalyst for their 7-3 season this year. Through 10 games, a staff comprised of six arms has combined for a 1.71 earned run average. That’s solid. And to be honest, pitching was arguably the biggest question mark entering the season.
Great defense. Tech ranked among the nation’s leaders in double plays turned last year. They are off to another great start this year turning six through 10 games. Despite committing an uncharacteristically high number of errors last night (3), the Lady Techsters are off to a really good start defensively.
Offense? Well, that’s where this team has tremendous upside. Josh Taylor doesn’t have a ton of hair to pull out — at least not as much as he did say 20 years ago when he started coaching — but what he does have has been in jeopardy over the first few weeks. Why? He knows he has a lineup that can swing it from top to bottom.
They just haven’t yet.
But they will. Too much talent not to start hitting sooner than later. And when they do, this team has a chance to put another magical ride together like the one last year that led them to the Conference USA Championship title.
Tech will be on the road this weekend in Mobile but then will return home to play nine straight home games, including a huge C-USA opening series against North Texas March 10-12. Talk about two teams that aren’t sending each other Christmas cards.
Lots of softball left. And lots of opportunities for Tech fans to come out and enjoy one of the fastest growing sports in the country.