Feb. 20, 2011
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech pitching staff combined to strike out 12 batters and allow just two hits as the Bulldog offense plated 13 runs on 16 hits en route to a 13-0 shutout of Grambling State Sunday night at J.C. Love Field.
In his first start since his season came to an abrupt end last March against New Mexico, Jeb Stefan took the mound for the Bulldogs in a predetermined start. Needing just 23 pitches to get through the Tiger lineup in the first inning, Stefan retired the side with a pair of strikeouts.
For the third straight game, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard in their first at-bat. After a quick two outs to start the frame, Mark Threlkeld hit his second home run in as many days to put Tech on top.
With a one run cushion and on a limited pitch count, Stefan came in and began the second inning for Tech. After striking out the leadoff hitter, Stefan finished his night after hitting Thomas Brown on a 2-1 pitch. Mike LeBreton entered the game in relief and stranded Brown after inducing a fly out and a groundout back to the mound.
Stefan (1-0) finished the night after tossing 32 pitches, 17 of which were strikes, while fanning three batters.
After drawing a leadoff walk in the top of the second inning, Philip Menou advanced to third base courtesy of two wild pitches sandwiched between a pop out to short. Freshman Ryan Gebhardt drove in Menou with an RBI groundout to give the Bulldogs a two run lead.
Tech added a four spot in both the third and sixth innings highlighted by a Joey Ford, first pitch, two-run homer over the center field batter's eye in the bottom half of the third inning. Ford drove in his third run of the night with an RBI double down the left field line in the sixth inning that scored Colby Johnson.
Grambling State (0-3) starter Derrick Murray (0-1) was chased after walking two batters, throwing four wild pitches and allowing six runs on six hits in just 3.0 innings of work.
From the second inning to the top of the eighth, LeBreton and Josh Barrett combined to retire 17-straight batters while striking out six during that stretch. The duo allowed just one hit over 6.2 innings of work.
The Bulldogs utilized four-straight hits to lead off the eighth inning capped by a two-run single up the middle by freshman Taylor Burch in his first career at-bat. Tyler Qualls finished off the Tech offensive onslaught in the inning with an RBI groundout that scored Marc Picciola.
Looking to preserve the shutout, Sam Alvis entered the game in the ninth inning. Facing four batters, the freshman allowed just one hit while striking out two to seal the win for the Bulldogs. The nine-inning shutout marked the first since March 8, 2009 when Tech knocked off Eastern Michigan, 10-0.
Louisiana Tech (3-0) returns to action Tuesday night at 6 p.m. as the Bulldogs play host to UALR in a midweek game before traveling to McNeese State next weekend.
Notes: With the win, Tech improves to 14-3 all-time against Grambling State and 12-1 during the Simoneaux era... The Bulldogs have won 12 straight games against the Tigers... Tech has now won nine-straight games at J.C. Love Field which is the longest such streak since Tech won nine games from April 5 to May 14 during the 2009 season... Tyler Qualls and Ryan Gebhardt made their first career starts... Colby Johnson, Marc Picciola and Sam Alvis all saw their first action as Bulldogs... A total of six freshman saw action tonight with Qualls, Gebhardt, Picciola and Taylor Burch picking up their first career hits... Jeb Stefan made his first appearance since March 12, 2010 at New Mexico... The win was the sixth of Stefan's career and the first in a starting role since April 30, 2009 at Hawai'i... Mark Threlkeld's home run marked the first time at Tech player has hit a home run in consecutive games since Devon Dageford accomplished the feat against Sacramento State last season.