First pitch is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Grambling, La.
The one-hour show can be heard at 6 p.m. tonight on ESPN 97.7 FM
Tech returns to action at 6 p.m. Tuesday to face Grambling on the road
Third game set to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park
Series resumes at 3 p.m. Saturday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park
Entering his 12th season at the helm of the Louisiana Tech baseball program, Wade Simoneaux has turned the Bulldogs into perhaps one of the more prolific offensive teams in the south.
In the past 11 seasons with the Bulldogs, Simoneaux has compiled over 275 wins and has turned J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park into a true home field advantage as LA Tech has built a .686 winning percentage since 2006.
Over the course of the 2013 season, Simoneaux and the Bulldogs relied on a quality pitching staff that was put in place over the last few years. With that, LA Tech pitchers recorded a 4.48 team earned run average in 56 games, making the 2013 season the most successful for any Bulldog staff since the 1993 season.
Sophomore Phil Maton picked right up where he left off in his freshman campaign a year ago and led the Western Athletic Conference in strikeouts with 89, while posting a 2.70 ERA in 2013, which was second best among all WAC pitchers. Senior pitcher Trevor Petersen also made his mark on the season after moving up to seventh place all-time in the Louisiana Tech record books with 68 career appearances on the mound.
In 2012, Simoneaux continued to impress Bulldog baseball fans by guiding his team to a semifinal appearance in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the best showing of any other team in the program's history. Tech finished the season 27-28 after winning three straight contests in the WAC Tournament while facing elimination in each game.
Simoneaux added another freshman all-American to the list as Phil Maton led the team in earned run average and wins as a freshman for Simoneaux and his staff. Simoneaux also had three of his Bulldog players selected to the all-WAC team as Ryan Gebhardt was named to the first team, while Jamie Gilley and Alex Williams were both second team selections in 2012.
The 2011 Bulldogs compiled a 34-27 record and had the best finish in the WAC tournament than any other team in school history (2-2). As a result, two players, Will Alvis and Ryan Gebhardt, were named to the all-tournament team.
Over the past six seasons Simoneaux has totaled 150 wins including two 30-plus win seasons. The five year stretch marks the most successful period for a Bulldog head coach since Pat Patterson and Mike Kane combined to win 171 games between 1988 and 1992.
Plain and Simple, Simoneaux has returned a winning tradition to Louisiana Tech as evident by the 18 student-athletes selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, six all-Americans, three freshman all-American, one ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-American and 31 all-WAC performers.
In 2011, the Bulldogs reverted back to small-ball. With the new BBCOR bats, Tech totaled 28 home runs, the lowest Tech has compiled since the 1973 season. LA Tech made the transition to a team that can move runners and steal bases and stole 53 bases to rank fourth in the WAC while recording 32 sacrifice bunts and 19 sacrifice flies in 2011.
Tech saw seven hitters surpass the .300 mark, led by Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and second team all-WAC shortstop Ryan Gebhardt. Gebhardt hit .343 with 23 RBI and eight sacrifice hits in 49 games. Kyle Roliard, Mark Threlkeld, Austin Hedges, Colby Johnson, Corey White and Justin Gordey each registered batting averages of at least .300.
Roliard earned first team all-WAC honors after hitting .330 with 14 doubles, one triple, one home run and 26 RBI in 58 games. Threlkeld was named second team all-WAC after hitting .309 with 19 doubles, nine home runs and 45 RBI in 61 games.
Tech's defense shattered the putouts record as the team recorded 1,553 putouts, led by 508 by first baseman Alex Williams. The .962 fielding percentage tied four previous clubs for third best all-time in Tech history.
The pitching staff set numerous records as well. The 2011 pitching staff combined to pitch 517.2 innings, the most in school history. Led by closer Caleb Dudley, the bullpen became one of the strongest in the conference as Tech set a school record with 18 saves. Dudley set the single-season mark with 12 saves and also set the single-season mark in appearances with 32. Mike Jefferson earned first team all-WAC honors after posting a 6-4 record with a 3.56 ERA in 86 innings. Jefferson made 14 starts and registered a complete game and led the conference in pickoffs, as the left-hander picked off 11 base runners. Trevor Peterson led the team in starts (16) as he posted a 6-4 record in 83.1 innings including one save. Jeb Stefan led all Bulldog pitchers with seven wins as he returned from Tommy John Surgery. He also led the WAC in fewest hits allowed by a starting pitcher (63).
Picked to finish sixth in the conference in the preseason, the 2011 Bulldogs went into the WAC tournament as the three seed and advanced to the final game in the elimination bracket.
In 2010, Simoneaux's squad featured a prolific offense that shattered four school records for hits (697), runs (484), doubles (141) and RBI (441) while having five student-athletes named all-WAC performers. The five all-conference selections marked the most in program history since the Bulldogs placed six student-athletes on the 1989 All-American South Conference.
Nationally, the Bulldogs finished the season ranked amongst the NCAA leaders in 10 offensive categories including rankings in the top 25 in team batting average, scoring, home runs per game and slugging percentage. The Bulldogs' .336 batting average last season marked the highest total since the 1958 squad hit at a .343 clip. Against conference opponents, there was no drop off offensively as Tech hit a blistering .363 against WAC schools.
Although hampered with injuries to the pitching staff, the Bulldogs managed to put together several marquee wins in 2010 as LA Tech took key games against Baylor, Minnesota, Southern Miss and Fresno State.
Against Minnesota, the Bulldogs took two-of-three against the defending Big 10 champions including the first ever game played at Target Field - the home of the Minnesota Twins.
Despite being tabbed to finish near the bottom of the conference in 2009, Simoneaux led Bulldogs to a second place finish as the team littered their names throughout the LA Tech record books as the team finished the season with 408 total RBI (T-1st in Tech history), 92 homeruns (2nd in Tech history), a .323 team batting average (2nd in Tech history) and 438 runs scored (3rd in Tech history). Tech also ranked nationally in a number of offensive categories as the Bulldogs ended the season ranked 11th nationally in homeruns per game, 16th in total team home runs and 22nd in the nation in scoring.
The anchor of the offense in 2009 was NCBWA second team all-American honoree, Devon Dageford. The Beatrice, Nebraska native also received first team all-WAC and first team all-state honors while also being named Louisiana's newcomer of the year. The right fielder broke the school's single-season homerun record after launching 23 homers on the year as well as topping LA Tech's chart's with 168 total bases in 2009. He also recorded 68 RBI on the year (T-3rd in Tech history) and 18 doubles (T-9th).
Dageford was not alone in the 2009 team's assault on the record books as third baseman/shortstop Chris Kersten set a then single-season school record with 20 doubles in a season while also recording 149 total bases (4th in Tech history) on his way to second team All-WAC.
Joining Kersten as a second team all-WAC honoree was outfielder Patrick Thomas. The senior recorded a .370 batting average while hitting seven homeruns, 47 RBI and 112 total bases. Thomas was second on the team behind only Dageford with 58 runs scored.
Second baseman Kevin Winn did not receive first or second team All-WAC honors, but did earn ABCA South Central All-Region First Team honors and was also named All Ping! Baseball Third Team honorable mention. Winn recorded a magnificent season as he strung together the nation's longest hitting streak since 2006-07. Between the 2008-09 seasons Winn put together a 33 game hitting streak on his way to 81 total hits on the season (T-4th in Tech history). He also totaled 19 doubles (T-5th) and 63 RBI (10th).
Kersten and Winn were each drafted in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft as well, moving the total number of Tech players drafted under Simoneaux to 11 in seven years. Kersten was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 39th round (1179th overall) while Winn was picked n the 26th round (774th overall) by the San Diego Padres.
After the conclusion of the 2008 season, six Bulldogs were selected in the Major League Baseball draft, the most in school history. They included pitcher Luke Burnett, outfielder Adam Cobb, first baseman Albie Goulder, pitcher/outfielder Jericho Jones and pitchers Alan Knotts and Dylan Moseley. All of the draftees signed with their respective major league teams but Moseley who has decided to return for his senior season.
Before the draftees were given the opportunity to play baseball at the major league level, several players received numerous individual awards leading up to, during and at the conclusion of the 2008 season.
Burnett was named to the 2008 Brooks Player of the Year Watch List prior to the start of the season. During the year, Goulder was named Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week (Feb. 25). Knotts followed Goulder's efforts when he was awarded WAC Pitcher of the Week (Mar. 3), then Jones received the final weekly WAC hitter award when he was named WAC Hitter of the Week (May 19).
At the end of the season, Jones and Cobb received all-WAC honors. Jones was named to the all-WAC First Team and Cobb was named to the all-WAC Second Team.
Simoneaux was awarded WAC Coach of the Year in 2007. During the same season, former Louisiana Tech baseball standout Brian Rike received WAC Player of the Year honors and was the first player from Tech to receive the prestigious award. Rike was also named Second Team All-America by Baseball America and Louisville Slugger. He collected his third All-America honor when he was named Third Team All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings.
In 2006, Jones was named WAC Freshman of the Year. During his award-winning season, he batted .375, collected 66 hits, 10 doubles, 16 home runs and 56 RBI. He was the first freshman to receive the award during Simoneaux's reign.
There have been many changes off the field, as well under Simoneaux. Among the changes include strong team discipline and the team's involvement in community outreach programs.
Simoneaux has orchestrated the renovation of J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. The coaches and players have done almost all of the work as the facility has seen many changes and improvements. A new fence was installed and recently the team renovated its locker room, along with adding a new coat of paint on the stadium. The field is in its best shape in years due to the many hours Simoneaux, his staff and players have put in working on it.
More than 400 new chairback seats were installed prior to the 2008 season, along with a new scoreboard and a new press box. Tech's housing department aided in improving the look and feel of the ballpark by building apartments just beyond the left field wall. The addition of a new brick and wrought iron fence has also helped the stadium's appearance. A visitor's bullpen was added during the 2006-07 offseason down the right-field line. Simoneaux and his staff will renovate the batting cage in the summer time, making it twice the size it is now by next season.
"There are a lot of things the guys have to buy into prior to this becoming a successful program. I will find the people to do this," Simoneaux said. "It is going to be a slow but sure process. The facility is going to get better and the prospects we bring in are going to improve each year."
The Gonzales, La. native has been highly successful everywhere he has coached including seven years at Louisiana-Lafayette as Tony Robichaux's top assistant before coming to Tech in August 2002. While at UL-Lafayette, Simoneaux was part of five NCAA Regional teams, two NCAA Super Regional squads and the 2000 Cajun squad that finished third at the College World Series.
Simoneaux was invited to participate in the YES Baseball Clinics as a camp instructor in 2003. The clinics were held in conjunction with the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. A small handful of coaches are selected every year to participate in the annual event hosted by Creighton University.
He also was the featured speaker at the American Legion National Convention in July 2005 in Indianapolis, Ind. In addition, Simoneaux and his staff were the featured speakers at the 2008 Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association Convention in Baton Rouge.
Simoneaux was a big part of the success of the Louisiana-Lafayette baseball program, serving as the recruiting coordinator and coaching the hitters and infielders before taking the head job at Tech. The Cajun hitters excelled under Simoneaux's direction while posting a team batting average of at least .294 in his seven years as the hitting coach, and he earned the ULL Assistant Coach of the Year Award on two occasions.
He has been a close follower of the Bulldog baseball program ever since the late Pat "Gravy" Patterson was the Bulldog skipper.
Simoneaux graduated from Nicholls State in 1984 with a degree in business administration. He was a two-year starter at third base in 1982 and 1983. He also played at Central Florida Junior College in 1981 and served as one of the team's captains.
He was a finalist when Tech hired Randy Davis in 1996 and he again applied when Jeff Richardson was hired in 1999. The third time proved to be the charm for Simoneaux who was selected in the summer of 2002 to be the sixth head coach in the modern era of Tech baseball.
Prior to his tenure at UL-Lafayette, Simoneaux served as head coach at Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge from 1990-95. He chaired the committee for completion of a $1 million baseball facility facelift.
Other career highlights include four American Legion World Series appearances and nine state championships in 11 summers.
Of the 104 high school players that played for him during the summer, 99 went on to receive college scholarships to junior colleges or four-year schools and 14 have gone on to play Minor League Baseball.
He received the National American Legion Coach of the Year award in 1991. Simoneaux served as the head baseball coach at Ascension Catholic High School (1986-89) and was an assistant at East Ascension High School for one year (1989-90).
Simoneaux is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association. He also served as chairman of the World Games, an international baseball tournament with proceeds benefiting cancer and leukemia research. He is also a member of the local Lions Club and the St. Thomas Church men's club.
Simoneaux has recently married the former Susan Newman of West Monroe. Their new family consists of Simoneaux's son Thomas, Newman's one son, Adam, who is in the United States Marine Corps, and her two daughters, Mary Alice, and Caroline.