Bulldogs Drop Close One in Home Opener
Feb. 19, 2010
RUSTON--Louisiana Tech held Alcorn State to just one run Friday night, but one run was all the Braves (1-0) needed as they defeated LA Tech (0-1) by a score of 1-0 in front of 1,049 fans at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
"You have to tip your hat to the lefty (Collin Armold)," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "A soft throwing lefty with three pitches like that has a chance to disrupt any team and he did it to us tonight."
Louisiana Tech sophomore pitcher Jeb Stefan (0-1) was tagged with the loss, pitching five innings, striking out nine and scattering just three hits. Stefan only made one mistake the entire game and that one mistake cost him as Alcorn State's designated hitter, Kirby Perdomo, sent a line drive down the left field line and over the fence for a solo homerun which put the Braves up 1-0 in the top of the fourth.
The one run would prove to be the difference as Alcorn's Collin Armold put on a show on opening day. The soft throwing left-hander threw 102 pitches for a complete game shutout. He struck out six while only walking two and giving up five hits.
The Bulldogs had a man in scoring position in the first inning, but were unable to produce any runs. With one out in the first, junior Joey Ford reached base on an error by the shortstop and was followed by a Kyle Roliard walk. Ford then moved to third by tagging up on a long fly out to center field by Devon Dageford. So with men on first and third and two outs, first baseman Alex Willaims was unable to bring them in as the sophomore grounded out to third.
Stefan was impressive in the fifth inning, his final inning of work, as he stuck out the side with just 11 pitches. True freshman Caleb Dudley relieved Stefan in the sixth inning and pitched 3.1 innings, giving up no runs on four hits. Also receiving his first career appearance for LA Tech was fellow freshman Trevor Petersen. The Hallsville, Texas native came in for Dudley in the top of the ninth with one out and men on first and second. Petersen was not phased as he recorded two quick outs to end the inning.
"I think we pitched well enough and played good enough defense to get a win tonight, but their lefty (Armold) just kept us off balance all night," Simoneaux said. "I also thought our young pitchers threw extremely well tonight. We threw two freshmen and one sophomore. They got into some trouble late, but they proved themselves by getting out of it."
Even with a high pitch count Armold remained in the game for the ninth inning. Catcher Clint Ewing flied out to deep center field on the first pitch of the inning before Mark Threlkeld reached base with a walk. However, pinch hitters Drew Thomas and Austin Hedges were unable to bring him around to score as Armold retired the side to end the game and earn the win.
"We hit way too many lazy fly balls," Simoneaux said. "We didn't stay on top of the ball like we needed to. Sometimes that happens on opening day with the guys being excited to hit and trying to show what they can do, but the pitcher is throwing a 58 mile-per-hour changeup. That's hard to simulate in practice. He was throwing strikes all night and they looked like fastballs, but then they would just flutter up to the plate. A soft throwing lefty like that will give any team fits. He (Armold) deserved the win tonight."
"It's like I told the team, it's not about how you start it's about how you finish," Simoneaux said. "This game didn't lose us the WAC championship. We just have to come back and grind it out tomorrow. "
Designated hitter Will Alvis led LA Tech at the plate going two-for-three with two singles. Defensively sophomore left fielder, Kyle Roliard, made two outstanding diving catches in in the first inning and then again in the eighth inning to help the Bulldog pitchers.
Tech will return to action Saturday to continue the three game series with Alcorn State with a double-header beginning at 1 p.m. CT at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. The game can be followed on LATechSports.com via GameTracker or by viewing the live stream on LA Tech All-Access.
Tech fans are reminded that single game tickets are now available through TicketMaster and the Tech Ticket Office along with a number of premium chair-backs still available which can be hand-picked by fans for $130 online at www.latechsports.com, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631.
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