(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA -- The Montana softball team opened its season 2-0 for the first time in program history with a pair of dramatic wins on Friday at the Big Easy Classic in Metairie, La.
The Grizzlies defeated Central Arkansas 3-2, scoring the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth, then fought off host Louisiana Tech, an NCAA tournament team a year ago, 4-3 in 10 innings.
Junior pitcher Tristin Achenbach picked up the win in both games, first as a starter, then in relief.
She allowed five hits and one earned run against the Bears while striking out nine for the seventh complete game of her career.
Montana opened the scoring in the second on Morgan Johnson’s seventh career home run, then tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth when freshman Julie Phelps drove in Brooklyn Weisgram with a two-out single to center.
Montana took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Weisgram, who would go 3 for 3 in the opener, doubled in pinch runner Jaxie Klucewich from first with the game-winning run.
Senior Michaela Hood got the start against the Lady Techsters and held a team coming off an 8-0, five-inning win over Alabama A&M earlier in the day in check.
Cami Sellers made it 1-0 when she doubled home Kendall Curtis in the top of the first, Kylie Becker made it 2-0 in the fifth when she connected for her second career home run.
After Louisiana Tech tied it in the bottom of the seventh off Hood, who hit a batter, then gave up the tying home run, Achenbach came on in relief.
Hood finished with four hits allowed in 6 1/3 innings.
With a runner starting on second base for all extra innings, both teams scored in the eighth. Montana’s run came on a Johnson double to right.
The Grizzlies did not score in the ninth but also kept Louisiana Tech off the board as well, keyed by a double play to lead off the inning, with a line out to third and the lead runner picked off second.
Sellers had the hit of the game in the top of the 10th, driving a single up the middle to score Anne Mari Petrino.
Louisiana Tech would have runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the 10th against Achenbach.
She kept the home team from scoring with a fly out to right, then fielded a bunt for the second out.
Facing Conference USA Preseason Player of the Year Lindsay Edwards with two on and two out, Achenbach ended the game with a strikeout, her 11th of the day.
Achenbach and Hood limited Central Arkansas and Louisiana Tech to 11 hits over 17 innings and a .186 batting average.
Weisgram went 4 for 7 on the day with two doubles.
Montana will face Jackson State at 8:30 a.m. (MT), Alabama A&M at 11 a.m. (MT) on Saturday.