Ward Solid in Relief as Tech Rallies to Defeat Liberty
March 20, 2011
CLEARWATER, Fla. - No. 21 Texas Tech broke a 5-5 tie in the ninth and Kermitria Ward finished off a career outing as the Red Raiders took a 6-5 victory in nine innings over Liberty Sunday to close the USF The Game Tournament at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
Ward (5-0) came in relief of Kelsey Dennis with one out in the first and stopped the bleeding as the Flames scored four runs in the first inning. The freshman allowed just one run, which was unearned, in 8.2 inning, giving Tech solid relief in the circle to overcome an early four-run deficit.
The win improves Tech to 35-1 on the year and 5-0 in the USF The Game Tournament which officially closes the non-conference portion of the season for the Red Raiders. Liberty drops to 8-11 with the loss.
"I thought the story of the game was Kermitria Ward," head coach Shanon Hays said. "She came in and gave us a great performance in the circle. I wasn't really thrilled with our approach at the plate for the most part, but I was glad to see us come back and win the game."
After giving up the four early runs in the first, Tech came battling back in the third, plating four runs in the inning beginning with a Stephanie Drewry RBI double to left. Cydney Allen added a RBI single a few moments later to pull Tech to within two runs.
Sandy James tied the game a few pitches later, crushing a 2-2 pitch over the fence in right for her team-leading 12th home run of the year.
The Red Raiders appeared ready to break the game open in the seventh, putting two runners in scoring position but a fly ball by Mikey Kenney was not deep enough to score Raven Richardson from third. Stephanie Drewry followed with a line drive to shallow right, but a sliding catch by Katie Zavodny ended Tech's scoring threat.
Playing under the international tiebreaker rule, Tech plated one run in the eighth as Emily Bledsoe put down a successful bunt to reach first while advancing Drewry to third. Drewry would eventually score on the play as the throw was muffed by first baseman Kaylee West.
The Flames threatened to take the game in the bottom of the inning, scoring a run off a Jenny Law sacrifice fly. Liberty was unable to capitalize with runners in scoring position, though, as Ward forced a popup and a strikeout to end the inning.
Tech scored early in the ninth inning, plating a run off a double steal attempt from McKenzie Clemmons and Logan Hall, who scored on the play. Ward shut down the Flames from there, allowing only a walk in the ninth while getting the final out at the plate on a throw from Hall.
The Red Raiders will take a few days off before opening Big 12 play on Saturday against the 13th-ranked Missouri Tigers. The two-game series begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Rocky Johnson Field.