RUSTON, La. – With its collective backs against the wall, staring at the possibility of a weekend sweep, the No. 25 Louisiana Tech baseball team struck for a 10-6 Sunday win over the visiting Charlotte 49ers from J.C. Love Field, in front of a crowd of 1,286.
“I thought we evaluated pitches at a very high level today,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “We had some big at-bats and played some pretty solid defense. Logan Bailey was outstanding. I was proud of the way our guys bounced back today. Ben Jernigan, our chaplain, had a tremendous message this morning about character, and the timing for the message was perfect. Our guys needed to hear that. I thought our guys showed a lot of character to come out here and take care of business today.”
With the triumph, LA Tech (25-13, 10-5 C-USA) avoided the weekend sweep and put an end to its first three-game losing streak of the season. The Bulldogs kept up pace in the competitive top portion of the Conference USA standings, and currently sit in third place, just a half-game back of Southern Miss in second., and one game away from first-place Florida Atlantic.
Tech starter Logan Bailey (6-1) delivered another quality Sunday start (his third-straight quality start), tossing seven innings, while scattering seven hits, and allowing just two runs. Bailey has now been the winning pitcher of record in each of his last four outings. His season ERA remained under two, at 1.89.
“He’s Bailey) been commanding all three pitches in each of his last three starts,” Burroughs added. “To hold that offense in check on a day where the wind is blowing out, shows you how well he was pitching today. That’s probably the best hitting club in our league, so for him to go out and do that was pretty impressive.”
Charlotte (18-17, 7-8 C-USA) starter Joey Cooner (3-2) took the loss, going 4.1 innings, while allowing eight runs (six earned) on eight hits, and did not strike out a batter.
The offense came to play in the Sunday finale, propelled by three hits and three RBI from Mason Robinson. The Tech right-fielder came a triple short of hitting for the cycle in the impressive outing. Dalton Skelton hit his sixth home run of the year, and added a pair of RBI on a 2-for-5 afternoon at the plate. Chris Clayton scorched a pair of extra-base hits (an RBI double in the first, and a solo HR in the sixth) for his 22nd and 23rd RBI of the season.
Every player in the Tech lineup notched a base hit and also came across to score at least one run in the complete team effort.
The Bulldogs continued the trend of scoring early in the series, plating six runs in the first, after scoring one and four runs in yesterday’s games, respectively.
In the first, a Skelton home run down the left-field line, drove home Wells, who led off the inning with a double, and gave Tech a 2-0 lead. Four batters later, Mason Robinson drove a three-run blast over the wall in left, giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 edge. Chris Clayton then drove home Taylor Young (who reached on an error) with an RBI-double to left. Tech would bat around in the frame, ending the first with six runs on five hits (four of which went for extra bases).
With a 6-0 lead, Bailey coasted through both the second and third innings, before facing a bit of a jam in the fourth. With two outs, Drew Ober reached on a fielding error, followed up by a Zack Smith walk and a Dominick Cammarata single. With the bases loaded, Bailey induced a flyout to right from Whitcomb, ending the threat.
The 49ers got on the scoreboard the following inning after an RBI single from Jackson Mims, made the score 6-1. Then, with two outs, Harris Yett doubled to left field. Mims tried to score from first, but an impressive relay from Mallard to Skelton to Clayton, cut down the attempted run at the plate, ending the half inning.
The Tech offense got the run back, and added another in the bottom of the frame, courtesy of a Parker Bates RBI double. Bates then came home to score on a misplayed ball in left after a single from Mason Robinson.
Kyle Griffen came in to pitch for Bailey in the top of the eighth in a 9-2 ballgame, and worked a scoreless frame.
Senior Kent Hasler entered for Griffen in the ninth, with Tech up now 10-2, and allowed four runs on four hits, but buckled down and slammed the door on any chance of a comeback, sealing Tech’s 25thwin of the year.
The Bulldogs return to action on Wednesday, April 18 on the road at UL-Lafayette. Tech will then stay on the road, and head to Beckley, W. Va., for a weekend C-USA set against Marshall.
Assistant Director Athletic Communications