Tornado Damages Louisiana Tech's Softball, Baseball Fields
Louisiana Tech cancelled all classes on Thursday as the campus begins to try to clean up after a tornado ripped through the campus early Thursday morning.
Louisiana governor John Edwards confirmed that the tornado killed two people.
The softball team had lost to Louisiana 7-2 at home hours before the tornado struck, while Louisiana Tech’s baseball team was on the road on Wednesday night as they lost to McNeese State 5-3.
The tornado caused significant damage to Louisiana Tech’s softball and baseball stadiums. The softball team was slated to play have its senior day and play its final homestand of the season against Western Kentucky on Saturday and Sunday. The baseball team was scheduled to be on the road this weekend at Rice.
Cell reception on Thursday morning was not strong enough to make phone calls but La Tech assistant softball coach Mike Forsythe confirmed with Softball America via text that everyone on the team and coaching staff is fine.
According to the National Weather Service warnings began in St. Augustine, Texas, around 11 p.m. and continued into the early morning hours as the system traveled east into northeastern Louisiana.
The damage done to several buildings, vehicles and power lines forced La Tech to cancel classes Thursday.
The university released a statement via Twitter saying, “Louisiana Tech University is closed today, April 25, as the result of a tornado. The storm traveled through the Ruston campus on Wednesday night, April 24. No students on campus were injured, but a significant amount of damage occurred. Power lines and trees are down in some areas on and near campus. In some area, traveling is hazardous. If you do not live on campus, please do not come to campus. Essential personnel will be contacted by their supervisor about reporting to work.”
Louisiana Tech baseball team stayed in Lake Charles last night after their game, so they were on the road and safe when the storm hit. Multiple people associated with the program said it was highly unlikely that the team would be able to play their lone remaining homestand (scheduled for May 10-12 against Western Kentucky) at JC Love Field. The Bulldogs were already scheduled to play their next eight games on the road. Like the softball team, it is possible that the Bulldogs will be able to move the final series to some other nearby facility.
La Tech’s softball team was scheduled to host senior weekend against Western Kentucky this weekend in Ruston in a battle of the first place teams in Conference USA.
The Lady Techsters are looking at other options in Ruston but any local fields will have to pass NCAA regulations. Louisiana-Monroe and Northwestern State have reached out to the Lady Techsters and offered their support and facilities.