Historic season ends late Saturday night for LA Tech
BATON ROUGE, La. – Tears. Hugs. More Tears.
And even some half-hearted laughs.
Emotions flowed at Tiger Park late Saturday night when the last out was recorded in Louisiana Tech’s 3-1 loss to Texas Tech.
The Tech team which calls the boot its home saw its historic season end.
Just hours after a dramatic 1-0 win over Monmouth kept the season alive for one more game, Louisiana Tech saw the Red Raiders plate two runs in the top of the seventh to send the Lady Techsters home.
Exactly 100 days after the 2019 journey began in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the end of the 45-win road surface in Baton Rouge. A road that was full of twists, turns and even potholes.
“I couldn’t be prouder of a group,” said Tech head coach Mark Montgomery. “This senior class has taken this program to new heights. They left it all on the field. I told the team after the game that it’s up to the returners to make sure that we continue to make a name for ourselves.
“People know who Louisiana Tech is in the softball world thanks to this senior class. It’s been an amazing run. When you talk about 147 wins for this class? That’s special. Once the emotions that come with seeing a season end – and for these seniors a career end – are over, they will look back and realize what this team and this group accomplished.”
In a season that will be remembered for a lot of reasons – the 45 wins, the C-USA regular season and tournament titles, the EF3 tornado to name a few – it will be a regional that will be remembered for a lack of offense.
Tech posted a 1-2 record in the three-games. The top offensive unit in Conference USA for the last three months struggled to ever find its swing in Baton Rouge. The .094 batting average in the three games proves it.
Six hits. In three games.
“I thought we pitched and defended well enough to win all three games,” said Montgomery. “But we just never got going offensively. I don’t want to make excuses about injuries, but we were so thin this weekend. But even then we just didn’t look like ourselves all weekend. I’m not sure why.”
After falling 3-0 to Texas Tech on Friday, Tech was forced to play its way out of the elimination side of the bracket. Despite being outhit 8-2, Tech defeated Monmouth 1-0 on Morgan Turkoly’s two-out RBI single to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The win gave Tech another chance to do what this team has loved doing all year long; competing and representing its school.
Texas Tech grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on a bases loaded walk. The Lady Techsters found a way to respond. With runners on first and third and two outs, Tech tried a double steal and the Red Raiders threw the ball away, allowing Bayli Simon to score from third to tie the game.
The Red Raiders then capitalized on a Tech error in the top of the seventh and back-to-back doubles drove home two runs. Tech brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but Texas Tech pitcher Missy Zoch recorded her seventh strikeout of the game to seal the deal.
LA Tech’s senior class leaves with 147 wins, one regular season title, two conference tournament titles, two NCAA regionals and an immeasurable amount of respect from Montgomery … and the program’s fan base.
“This is the group that elevated it to the next level, and, then elevated it again to the next level and, finally you see the culmination of what they have been able to do with this program,” said Montgomery. “Around 150 wins as a group, I don’t know exactly what it is but, an amazing number for this group of seniors.
“It’s not just been the wins. It’s been the evolution of our character, the development of the program as a whole, in terms of what it stands for and what it’s about. This class, to me, epitomizes Louisiana Tech Softball. They will be remembered for a long time for what they have been able to accomplish, and they raised the bar really high for every player that wants to come here.”
Turkoly, who started every game of her college career, ended it by answering difficult questions in one of the most emotional nights of her young adult life. And she did it with the same class that she has played with the last four years as her answers were representative of this senior class.
“I don’t think I can sit up here and tell you what my time at Tech has meant to me,” said Turkoly. “It’s beyond words. I have grown on the field but more importantly off of the field. It has got me ready for the next step in my life. I have my coaching staff and my teammates to thank for that.”