LA Tech Athletics weekend round-up

The Bulldogs took two out of three on the road against WKU. (Courtesy Photo)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications


In its first Conference USA road series of the season, Louisiana Tech swept a close-from-start-to-finish doubleheader against Western Kentucky, 5-3 and 3-2, Saturday afternoon and evening at windy Nick Denes Field.

WKU won the third and final game of the series by a 5-2 score on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs got two solid mound starts Saturday, first from Alec Sparks and then from senior Jonathan Fincher in the nightcap, and used timely hitting and good defense to snap a three-game losing streak, win the three-game series and move to 12-12 overall, 3-3 in C-USA.

“Amazing what can happen when you get a quality start on the mound,” said Tech coach Lane Burroughs, who’s watched his starters struggle lately. “Extremely proud of those two guys.”

WKU is 16-9 and 2-4.

In the opener, the Bulldogs rode two homers, a pair of strong pitching performances and errorless ball to the 5-3 win.

Sparks (2-1) pitched six strong innings and Landon Tomkins got his first save of the year with three innings of scoreless relief.

The Hilltoppers took the early lead on a two-run homer by Lukas Farris in the second, but Tech answered in the top of the third on a three-run homer by Dalton Davis, hitting in the third spot, for a 3-2 lead.

“We’ve been needing our middle-of-the-order guys to get some big hits,” Burroughs said. “They did that today.”

WKU tied it in the sixth, 3-3, on a solo shot by Ty Batusich, but Tech again answered with a homer, this time an inside-the-parker by speedy Ethan Bates to make it 4-3. The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the eighth when Adarius Myers laced a double off the wall to score Jonathan Hogart.

The Tops got the leadoff runner aboard off Tomkins in each of the last three innings, but the righthander got out of each jam with the help of a double play and a couple of strikeouts.

In the nightcap, Tech grabbed the early 1-0 lead with three hits in the second, including a leadoff double by Jorge Corona, who scored on a sacrifice fly by Myers. Philip Matulia homered to lead off the sixth for a 2-0 Tech lead.

The Tops got one back in the seventh to make it 2-1. Fincher (4-2) left with a runner on first and one out.

In relief, Hector Rawley gave up a triple after Corona had thrown out the inherited baserunner, then hit a batter to put runners at the corners. Ryan Harland relieved and surrendered an RBI single before getting a strikeout to end it.

As they did all afternoon, the Dogs had an answer. Matulia walked to lead off the eighth and scored on a double by Davis, his fourth RBI of the afternoon, for a 3-1 lead.

The Tops got an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth off Bates, who pitched a scoreless ninth to get his fourth save in his first six-out appearance of the season.

“It was hard, tough sledding, to be able to so through the heart of their order,” Burroughs said of Bates’s two-inning effort. “He got it done.

“I could not be more proud of this team today,” he said. “I think the rainout actually played in our favor. We were on the bus 12 hours yesterday, practiced late Thursday night. We kind of needed a day of rest (Friday, when Game 1 had been scheduled). Win or lose, I love the way we played today. We needed it in the worst way.”


Louisiana Tech flexed its muscle on a sunny Saturday afternoon with a pair of shutout victories over Tyler Junior College and LSU-Alexandria at the LA Tech Tennis Complex.

LA Tech first claimed a 6-0 victory over TJC, the No. 3-ranked junior college team in the country, followed by a 7-0 win versus LSUA, the No. 4-ranked NAIA team in the country.

“It was a good doubleheader today,” said head coach Amanda Stone. “We shook some things up in the doubles lineup and I think we showed a lot of promise and potential there. Both Tyler Junior College and LSU-Alexandria are top teams in their respective divisions so we were prepared for both to come in with confidence and fight. We were the favorite in both matches and we performed like it. I am proud of the high standard our team is setting for ourselves.”

The Lady Techsters mixed up its doubles lineup on courts one and three and that is where they picked up their victories to tally the opening point. Najah Dawson and Ana Rodrigues won, 6-1, at No. 1 while Leonie Schuknecht and Ilana Tetruashvili prevailed, 6-0, at No. 3.

LA Tech then posted straight-set singles victories on courts one, two, three, four, and six. Olga Bienzobas was the first to finish, outdueling Sydney Stone at the No. 2 spot with a 6-2, 6-1 win.

Her court neighbor at the No. 3 position, Dawson, made it 3-0 with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Yeva Kononovych. The clincher came on the back courts with Ilana Tetruashvili winning her 50th career dual singles match, downing Hrudaya Shah by a score of 6-0, 6-3.

Tiffani Nash added to the win total with a 6-1, 6-1 victory versus Yeva Kramarova at No. 5. The sixth and final point was courtesy of Leonie Schuknecht who came through at the top position with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Zoi Spyrou.

The new duos of Dawson/Rodrigues and Schuknecht/Tetruashvili came through again in the second match with wins of 6-3 and 6-2, respectively.

LA Tech proceeded to win all six singles courts via straight sets. After only surrendering two games in her first singles match of the day, Nash won all 12 games to take it 6-0, 6-0 over Annemart Kleijn on court three.

Valentina Vazquez made quick work of her lone match Saturday, defeating Patricia Martinez by a final score of 6-1, 6-1 on court six. Dawson brought home the clinching point with a 6-3, 6-1 victory versus Alicia Romero Gomez on court two.

The wins kept coming with Alexia Romero delivering a 7-5, 6-1 win on court five, followed by a 6-1, 6-3 win by Tetruashvili on court four. Closing it out was Bienzobas who outlasted Candela Bonivardi at No. 1 with a 6-4, 6-4 win.


Behind dominant pitching and timely hitting, the Louisiana Tech Softball team rebounded with a 4-1 win over Middle Tennessee in its series finale on Sunday afternoon at Dr. Billy Bundrick Field.

Middle Tennessee won both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, prevailing 5-2 and 2-1.

“I like the way we endured the weather delay then came out and got six outs in a row,” said head coach Josh Taylor. “Allie (Floyd) and all of our pitchers did a great job today in neutralizing their offense. We were able to get some productive outs when we needed them with a couple sacrifice flies from KB Briley and Caroline Easom. Carol swung the bat really well today but did not have much to show for it.

“We had a lot better at bats so we were able to get four runs and our pitchers were able to do what they have done all year. I am happy with the win. We still need to keep improving on offense and we will use this upcoming week to do that and get things right for when we go to UAB over easter weekend.”

At the conclusion of the fifth inning the game was delayed nearly two hours due to inclement weather in the area. Play was resumed and both teams played the last two innings to make it a full seven-inning game.

The LA Tech pitching staff was impressive as usual. Lauren Menzina got the ball for Tech and pitched 2.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out one. Mary Martinez got the win in relief by striking out three batters and surrendering just one hit in her 2.2 innings pitched. Allie Floyd was unstoppable on her way to her third save of the season, retiring all six batters faced.

Six different Lady Techsters collected hits in the contest. Kylie Neel led the way at the plate with a two-RBI single in the bottom of the first that gave Tech a 2-1 lead that would not be relinquished. Caroline Easom and Katelin Cooper also drove in runs.


After a battle back from falling in round one, the Louisiana Tech women’s bowling team finished third at the Southland Bowling Championships.

LA Tech began the Southland Bowling Championships on Friday morning. The Lady Techsters faced off with SFA to start play and fell 2-0 (971-1,032; 938-967) moving them into the elimination bracket. With the tournament being double-elimination, Tech had to battle to keep themselves alive on the weekend. In game two, the Lady Techsters were able to advance into day two with a huge 2-0 (1,002-967; 900-815) victory over Tulane.

On Saturday, Tech was paired up with SFA once again and didn’t give them a chance to knock them out. The Lady Techsters came out ready to get their revenge and defeated them 2-0 (1.065-958; 895-894). With winning on their mind, Tech finished Saturday with a 2-0 (957-928; 898-8938) win over Youngstown to put them only two wins away from a championship match.

The Lady Techsters fought hard on Sunday but came up short against Sam Houston 2-1 (973-976-4; 987-962-1)

Lindsay Manning earned a spot on the Conference All-Tournament team.

Track and Field

The Louisiana Tech men’s and women’s Track & Field team competed at the two-day Clyde Hart Classic in Waco, Texas, hosted by Baylor, picked up four podium finishes, and posted 18 PRs. Mateo Smith took gold in the men’s long jump, Ulanda Lewis grabbed silver in the women’s 100m, and Tyler O’con (men’s javelin) and Rodney Heath Jr. (men’s 100m) earned bronze finishes. 

On day one in the field, Elizabeth Sebera posted two PRs in the women’s hammer throw and discus. Sebera registered three throws of 50-plus meters in just her second collegiate hammer throw event and improved on her 47.53m mark last week with a new personal best of 51.65m (169′ 5”) to take sixth place. Sebera also registered a PR in the women’s discus with a throw of 40.52m (132′ 11”).

Mateo Smith registered the best jump of his young career with a 7.47m (24′ 6.25”) to take first in the men’s long jump. It is the fourth event win for the freshman from Florida.

LA Tech also had three athletes make the finals and earn eighth-place finishes in Friday’s field events. Pleasant Harris in the long jump with a leap of 5.54m (18′ 2.25”), Nemoy Cockett in the hammer throw improved on his first mark of the season with a 54.74m (179′ 7”), and Natalie Moten who registered a new PR in the women’s discus with a throw of 43.23m (141′ 10”). 

On the track Friday, Tech ran six PRs between the women’s and men’s 200m events. Faith Tarver (24.92)Chanel Honeywell (24.93), and Nike Praetzel (26.00) all registered PRs in a deep seven heat field, while Marshall Ellis (21.43), Devin Walton (21.59) and Laeden Tucker (21.78) did so on the men’s side.  

On Saturday, Tech started the day by picking up two top-five finishes in the men’s and women’s javelin, with Tyler O’con grabbing bronze with a throw of 58.29m (191′ 3”) and Maria Ferreiro Pena throwing a 40.79m (133′ 10”) to finish fifth. 

Shania Parkinson (12.92m, 42’4.75”) made the finals in the women’s shot put and finished ninth, while on the men’s side, Johnie Jean-Jacques made the top-nine finals and finished sixth overall with his best outdoor throw of 16.57m (54′ 4.50”). 

In the jumps, Leah Ellis (11.23m, 36′ 10.25”) and Tia Reder (11.12m, 36′ 5.75”) made the final nine in the women’s triple jump and finished sixth and seventh, respectively, while Jiana Stewartburgess made the finals in the women’s high jump and finished ninth with a leap of 1.63m (5′ 4.25”). 

On the track, Tech picked up three more PRs in the hurdles, with Nike Praetzel grabbing her second PR in as many weeks in the 100m H with a 14.40. Kayla Watson ran a 14.04 to finish sixth, and on the men’s side, Urijah Williams ran a 15.34 to make his best time in the 110m H. 

Ulanda Lewis, the 2023 Conference USA Indoor 60m Champion came out blazing in her first outdoor appearance to take silver in the women’s 100m with a PR of 11.65. On the men’s side, Rodney Heath Jr. took bronze, just .004 off second, with a 10.31, while Marshall Ellis (10.68), Gerard Sapena (10.69), and Devin Walton (10.72) all registered their best career marks in the event. 

In the women’s 400m, Faith Tarver ran a. 56.29 to finish ninth, grabbing her tenth top-10 career finish in the event. Chanel Honeywell broke the 60-second barrier for the first time in her career and registered new PR of 59.62.