By: Andrew Goodwin/Louisiana Tech Athletics
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Jorge Corona sparked a six-run tenth inning with his first career home run and Louisiana Tech defeated Sam Houston State 9-3 in front of 1,175 at Don Sanders Stadium.
Corona’s solo blast completed a day in which he went 2-for-5 with two runs, and a walk. Steele Netterville, the reigning Conference USA Hitter of the Week, finished 4-for-6 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” said Bulldog head coach Lane Burroughs. “Not many teams come to this place on a midweek and come out with a win. This was a blue-collar, grind-it-out win.”
The Bearkats (6-5) drew first blood in the third inning. Leadoff hitter Christian Smith bounced a ground ball over Kyle Griffen’s head, scoring Corbin Vines from second.
The base on balls helped Tech (10-3) bounce back in the fourth. The Bulldogs worked four walks and scored three runs in the inning on a pair of groundouts and a wild pitch. Taylor Young and Ben Brantley picked up the RBIs and Corona raced home on the wild pitch.
In total, Louisiana Tech walked ten times, tying a season-high. Manny Garcia and Adarius Myers accounted for two walks apiece. Eight Bulldogs worked at least one base on balls.
Meanwhile, Griffen was dealing during the middle innings The Sulpher, La.-native retired 11 straight batters after giving up the run in the third. He exited the game after tossing 6.1 innings while allowing 3 runs on 4 hits. Griffen struck out six batters.
“That was about as good as I’ve seen Kyle Griffen pitch and it came against a really good hitting team,” Burroughs noted.
Sam Houston got to Griffen in the seventh inning. A double and triple cut the Tech lead in half and wild pitch from reliever Greg Martinez tied the ballgame at three. Hunter Wells helped the freshman sneak out of the inning when he made a diving snag on a line drive and doubled off a runner at first.
Casey Ouellette entered in relief of Martinez in the eighth inning. The freshman stayed on for the ninth and got a key strikeout with a runner on first to send the game to extras.
Once in extras, the game was all-Bulldogs. Corona led off the inning with his first home run, hammering a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left-center. It sparked an offensive onslaught.
The Bulldogs went on to score five more runs in the tenth inning thanks in large part to their 2-3-4 hitters. Wells singled in a run and Bates followed with an RBI double. Netterville finished the scoring with an RBI single – his fourth hit of the night.
Ouellette (1-0) earned his first win thanks his clutch work in the ninth and the ensuing tenth-inning scoring barrage. The freshman went 2.2 innings and did not allow a hit.
Louisiana Tech and Sam Houston St. will return to Don Sanders Field on Wednesday at 1 p.m. for the second game of the midweek series. The game was moved up due to forecasted rain in the area.
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