Feb. 23, 2008
RUSTON, La. - Three Louisiana Tech pitchers, led by starter Jericho Jones, combined to shut down McNeese State as the offensive onslaught continued for the Bulldogs in a 13-1 victory on Saturday at J.C. Love Field.
"Jericho set a great tempo for us today," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "If we play defense and pitch like that, we're going to win a lot of ballgames."
Louisiana Tech (2-0) got the best start of Jones' career as he faced only one over the minimum in his five innings of work - a solo home run in the fifth inning - and struck out four. Jones also helped his own cause with a 2-for-5 effort at the plate with two runs scored.
Andrew Lassere pitched two innings of no-hit ball, allowing only one walk while striking out three, and freshman Mike LeBreton gave up only two hits over two innings in his collegiate debut, striking out one.
The starter for McNeese State (0-2), Scott Holstein, got roughed up in his first Division I start as he gave up nine runs (eight earned) on six hits while walking four in 4.2 innings of work.
Tech had double-digit runs and hits for the second straight night, and the usual suspects were the catalyst for the Bulldog offense. Senior first baseman Albie Goulder and junior third baseman Chris Kersten both homered for the second time in as many games. Kersten also had four RBIs, bringing his total for the series to nine. Senior Drew Bunting also went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI on the night; he now has six on the year.
"Kersten's three-run homer was huge, it pretty much put the game out of reach," Simoneaux said. "Goulder hit a big shot for us, and Grunenwald had a big two-run single to right. The guys didn't have a lot of life in them today for some reason, but they got it done in the box."
In the third, Patrick Thomas reached on a two-out double, bringing up Drew Bunting. Bunting would send a shot up the middle that ricocheted off the mound and just out of the reach of the McNeese shortstop. Thomas, who was running on contact, beat the throw to the plate to give Tech a 2-0 lead; however, Bunting was thrown out at second trying to advance on the throw home to end the inning.
The Bulldog offense really came alive in the fourth. Following a Jones double and a Goulder walk, Kersten hit a rocket into the hole that was snagged by the McNeese shortstop. His throw to second was just a split-second late, and Jones scored from third to give Tech a 3-0 lead. Clint Stubbs then bunted Goulder and Kersten over, and a Nick Grunenwald single brought in two more runs to make the score 5-0.
Following Dustin Guidry's solo home run to get McNeese on the board and break up the no-hit bid, Tech tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth. After Patrick Thomas scored on a wild pitch, a big blast came from Kersten, who brought in three runs with his blast over the center field wall to make the score 9-1.
The hits kept on coming in the sixth as Bunting ripped a single to right field to score Adam Cobb from second, increasing the lead to 10-1. A Jones single put runners at first and second, and then an error by the McNeese right fielder allowed Jones and Cobb to score to push the lead to 12-1.
Louisiana Tech and McNeese State wrap up their three-game series with a matinee that begins at 1 p.m. Sunday at J.C. Love Field. It will be a pitching rematch of last year's series finale as Tech's Dylan Moseley (7-4, 4.07 in 2007) will square off against the Cowboys' Jonathan Conrad (1-4, 7.41 ERA in 2007). Dave Nitz will provide the play-by-play on ESPN 97.7 FM (or online at www.espn977.com), and live stats will be available through www.latechsports.com.