Feb. 7, 2015
RUSTON - Louisiana Tech freshman pitcher Carolina Sanchez made her first collegiate start a memorable one, tossing 6.1 innings of no-hit ball in a 6-0 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff Saturday morning at the Lady Techster Softball Complex.
It's the first no hitter recorded by a Tech team since Michelle Jones blanked Alcorn State in a five inning run-rule shortened victory on Feb. 17, 2013. It's the first seven inning no hitter recorded by LA Tech since Lindsey Meadows accomplished the feat against Samford on Feb. 12, 2005.
While allowing only three base runners in the game (3 walks, 1 HBP), Sanchez (1-0) recorded 10 ground outs, eight strikeouts and one foul out to the catcher. She didn't allow a ball out of the infield during her 6.1 innings of action.
"I thought she was on point all day," Montgomery said. "Her drop was nasty. It was on point. Her curve was okay too, but the drop ball was her out pitch. She did a really good job. I am extremely proud of her in her first collegiate start. I thought she would be nervous. She held everything together until the last inning when the moment got a little too big. She was very composed and business like in her approach."
Sanchez retired the first 11 batters of the game before hitting Tires Jacobs with a pitch with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. She never allowed multiple runners on base in an inning until the seventh when she issued back-to-back walks with one out. After falling behind the next batters 2-0, Tech head coach Mark Montgomery pulled the freshman and brought in sophomore Pauline Tufi, who recorded the final two outs with strikeouts.
"I am really proud of Pauline," Montgomery said. "That was a tough situation to come into. She wasn't trying to preserve the win. She was trying to preserve the no hitter. That's tough.
"When I went out to pull Carolina, it was `Hey, you know what is going on right?' She knew what was going on and the moment became a little too big for her. She was pressing. She threw 10 straight balls out of the strike zone, and I couldn't allow her to leave without feeling good about herself. She was a little tired. I was letting her know in the future don't let the moment get too big. Whether you are up or down, just stay calm."
The LA Tech offense jumped out early, giving Sanchez some run support. Tech scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning against UAPB starter Makay Hunter. Tori Charters and Pauline Tufi recorded back-to-back one-out singles, advanced a base on a wild pitch and then Charters scored the game's first run on a wild pitch.
With Tufi on third, Kassie Harris recorded a sacrifice fly RBI to left field. Krysta Tutsch then completed the frame with a solo home run over the right centerfield wall, giving the Lady Techsters the 3-0 advantage.
"We finally came out and didn't guess at the plate," Montgomery said. "We had the approach to see it and hit it if it is in the zone. Give me a good swing and trust yourself. We just have to learn to do that in every game we play. It doesn't carry over. We have to be able to repeat that mindset."
Tech added another run in the bottom of the second. Sanchez reached second base on a dropped fly ball by the UAPB left fielder. Pinch runner Katie Smith then scored from third on a bunt single by Charters.
In the fourth, Janine Godwin singled before being erased on a fielder's choice ground ball by Sanchez. Sanchez then scored from first base on an RBI double to straight away centerfield by Karlee Jensen, giving Tech a 5-0 lead.
Tech scored its final run of the game in the sixth. Godwin walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored from second on a wild pitch.