Techsters Upset No. 10 Fresno State

HONOLULU – There's a bug going around the Louisiana Tech team which is competing at the 2008 Western Athletic Conference Softball Tournament. It's the upset bug.

For the second straight day, the Lady Techsters pulled off a shocker downing 10th ranked Fresno State 3-2 in eight innings Thursday at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Complex.

The win came less than 24 hours after Tech had defeated 22nd ranked and host Hawaii late Wednesday night.

With the victory, Tech (33-27) advances to a 7 p.m. CST showdown with top-seeded and 17th ranked Nevada Friday in the winner's bracket of the tournament. The Wolf Pack (41-14) advanced by virtue of their 5-0 win over San Jose State in Thursday's first game.

With the two teams tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Danielle Sheridan and Amberly Waits recorded back-to-back, one-out singles up the middle off Fresno State starter Morgan Melloh. Senior Regan Clark then came through with a line drive single to right center, driving home Sheridan ahead of the throw by Fresno State outfielder Lisamarie Coronado and giving Tech the win.

"Regan had some good at bats earlier in the game," said Tech head coach Sarah Dawson. "Fresno State stuck with same game plan, and Regan stayed patient and didn't try to do too much with the outside pitch. With Danielle's speed on second, it was enough to get her in." Fresno State (50-10) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a two-out RBI double by Aja Schueber in the top of the first inning, scoring Caitlin Stiglich who singled to left field.

Tech starter Krissi Oliver settled down and looked in control through the first five innings, allowing only three hits and one walk. However, the Bulldogs came to life against Oliver in the top of the sixth inning as the first three runners reached – two singles and a walk – as Fresno State took a 2-0 advantage. Freshman Wanda Malone came on in relief with runners on first and second and no outs and worked her way out of the jam, retiring Morgan Melloh on a fly ball to right field with the bases loaded and two out.

Tech responded in the bottom of the sixth. After collecting only two hits in the first five innings of work against Melloh, the Lady Techsters rallied with one out singles by Sheridan and Waits.

Clark then singled home Sheridan, cutting the Fresno State advantage to 2-1. Kylie Bassett followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, plating Waits and tying the game at 2-2. With two outs and the game tied at 2-2, Oliver singled to shallow right field but Coronado fired a strike to home, retiring pinch runner Sarah Offutt and keeping the game even. "In the third inning we told the girls to get up on the plate," Dawson said. "It looked like their game plan was to throw us away, away, away. We have good hitters and they adjusted. I hope we earned some respect today."

Neither team threatened in the seventh inning. In the top of the eighth inning, Andrea Ortega walked but was thrown out at second by Summer Young on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Ashley White. With two outs and White on first base, Nicole Angene hit a double over Sheridan's head in left field.

However, Sheridan recovered and hit Waits on the relay who then fired a strike home to Clark who tagged White out for the final out of the inning. Malone (1-0) picked up her first collegiate win, allowing only two hits and two walks in the final 3.0 innings of work.

"Wanda can be a very tough pitcher to figure out," Dawson said. "She clearly throws a lot of off-speed stuff and she has good movement. She has been effective this year in games where she comes in after Krissi. They are polar opposites. She did a good job; enough to keep us in the game which was her job. I was really proud of her. She's really been going through a maturing process as a freshman."

Melloh (38-6) lost for only the sixth time this season – the second time to Tech – allowing three earned runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out 12. Waits and Sheridan led Tech with three hits each while Clark added two hits and two RBI. Stiglich led Fresno State with three hits while Angene added two hits.

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