By: Andrew Goodwin/Louisiana Tech Athletics
LAKE CHARLES, La. – The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs completed their first road trip of the season with their fourth straight win, defeating the McNeese Cowboys 7-4 in front of 1,215 at Joe Miller Ballpark
Tech pounded out a season-high 13 hits in the road triumph. Greg Martinez earned the win in his Bulldog debut, going 4.2 innings while striking out 4 and allowing 2 earned runs. McNeese managed six hits off the freshman. d
“I’m very proud of our guys. We answered every time they scored. When you do that, it breaks the will of the other dugout,” said Bulldog head coach Lane Burroughs. “We’ve got real players down there. We’ve got real dudes. We started five freshman today and they’re going toe-to-toe with some really good teams.”
The Bulldogs threatened early in the first, putting runners on second and third after Parker Bates doubled down the right field line. McNeese escaped, however, after a questionable call at home where Hunter Wells appeared to sneak under the tag but was called out.
In the second, freshman Ben Brantley notched his first collegiate base knock via a leadoff single to right center, but McNeese pitcher Daniel Hecker escaped any damage, retiring the next three batters in order.
McNeese built its first threat of the evening in the bottom of the second as three of the first four batters reached, loading the bases with one out. The Cowboys managed one run via an RBI groundout, but Martinez buckled down and struck out the next batter, limiting the damage to one.
Tech wasted no time getting the run back. Taylor Young singled with one out and advanced to second on a throwing error, putting the junior in scoring position for Wells. He delivered. The senior singled through the right side to even the game at one. Bates gave Tech a 2-1 lead when he drove in Wells with an almost identical single.
With one out in the fourth, Tech worked back-to-back walks, chasing reliever Brody Strahan. With a pair aboard, freshman Jorge Corona laced an RBI double to the gap in left center field, plating Brantley and extending the Tech lead to 3-1.
After a two-out walk from Young, Wells delivered with the bases full of ‘Dogs and singled to centerfield, bringing home freshman Adarius Myers to extend the Tech lead to 4-1.
McNeese attempted a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back singles off Greg Martinez, but the true freshman buckled down and got a big strikeout of centerfielder Payton Harden to retire the side and strand a pair.
After Tech was held off the board in the fifth, the Cowboys got a run back via an RBI triple to dead centerfield from rightfielder Clayton Rasbeary. Southpaw Kyle Griffen entered the contest for Martinez, and promptly induced a swinging strikeout, stranding the runner at third.
The Bulldog offense went right back to work in the top of the sixth as Jorge Corona led things off with his second double of the evening and was promptly driven home on an Alex Ray single down the right field line, giving Tech back its three run lead at 5-2.
Tech added on in the top of the seventh. Brantley reached base on an HBP before scoring from first when Adarius Myers snuck a blooper down in left field.
Trailing now by four, the Cowboys drew back to within two in the bottom of the eighth via the long ball, as Nate Fisbeck and Jake Dickerson struck for back-to-back solo shots off Griffen. The left-hander battled back and ended the inning with a swinging strikeout, preserving the Tech lead at 6-4.
As it had done all evening, the Tech bats once again came right back for their pitchers, as Brantley laced his second career hit to right field, plating Cole McConnell, who led off the ninth with a three-pitch walk.
Griffen closed out a painless ninth inning, picking up his first save of the season after a strong 4.1 innings of relief. The southpaw struck out five while allowing just the two solo home runs.
Martinez earned the win in his Bulldog debut, going 4.2 innings while striking out 4 and allowing 2 earned runs. McNeese managed six hits off the freshman.
Wells paced the Bulldog offense with a 3-for-4, 2 RBI effort at the plate. Brantley bounced back from a tough opening weekend to reach base four times with an RBI.
Tech returns to action on Friday, Feb. 21. The Bulldogs head to Alabama to take on Troy in a three-game non-conference series.
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