Feb. 27, 2008
MONROE, La. - Jericho Jones pitched 3.1 innings, struck out six, and went 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI as Louisiana Tech (6-0) continued its torrid start to the 2008 season with an 11-7 victory over previously unbeaten ULM (4-1) before a crowd of 2,405 at Warhawk Field on Tuesday night.
"We need these types of games to prepare for the competition we will face next week and in conference play," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "The first five games, we had no pressure. We had a tight game tonight, and I was proud to see our veteran ballclub step up."
Jones (2-0) took the mound in relief in the fourth inning and, save for a pair of home runs, was outstanding as he allowed three runs on three hits while striking out six. Andrew Lassere struggled in his three innings, giving up four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out three. Aaron Lorio earned his first save of the season, pitching 2.2 masterful innings of relief.
"Jericho and Lorio pitched very well down the stretch," Simoneaux said. "It's good to have those veteran guys we can count on."
Tech christened the 2008 season at Warhawk Field in a big way. Adam Cobb took Ben Soignier's third pitch of the game over the left field wall for his second home run of the season, making it 1-0 before the fans had even settled into their seats. Following another base hit and an error, Chris Kersten drove in Jericho Jones and Patrick Thomas to give Tech a 3-0 lead. Kersten then stole second, leading to a two-out RBI single by Clint Stubbs to give Andrew Lassere a 4-0 cushion before he ever threw a pitch.
The Warhawks would get one more back in the second on a walk and a pair of singles, the last by Soignier which scored Matt Collins from second to make it 4-3. They would tie it up on the first pitch of the fourth inning as Dexter Fontenot ripped a Lassere offering into the "Left Field Lounge." But Lassere would settle down and retire the next three to end the threat.
Tech would retake the lead in the fourth after Clint Stubbs doubled home Kersten from second to make it 5-4. After Grunenwald flied out to right, Siggers' throw sailed to the wall down the left field line, allowing Stubbs to score from second giving Tech a 6-4 lead.
But ULM would get those two back with one swing as Siggers roped a Jones offering over the right-field wall, scoring Fontenot to tie the game at 6-6.
After both teams went scoreless in the sixth, Tech exploded for three in the seventh, all with two outs. It began with a base hit to center by Patrick Thomas, followed by another single by Bunting. Jones then helped his own cause with an RBI single to center, scoring Thomas to give Tech a 7-6 lead. Albie Goulder followed that up with another single to score Kevin Winn (who pinch-ran for Bunting). The throw from center was mishandled by the shortstop, allowing Jones to score to push the lead to 9-6.
Once again, the Warhawks would cut into the lead with one swing as Soignier ripped one over the pickup trucks in left field to pull ULM within 9-7. After another ULM base hit, Aaron Lorio took over for the Bulldogs and got out of the inning without further damage. He followed that up by striking out the side in the eighth.
Tech would get a pair of insurance runs in the ninth when Kersten ripped a bases-loaded single to right, scoring Jones and Winn to make it 11-7. Lorio would then bounce back from a leadoff walk to Soignier to retire the next three in order to close it out.
Louisiana Tech will face its stiffest challenge of the season this weekend as the `Dawgs travel to College Station, Texas, for the Domino's Pizza Aggie Baseball Classic. They begin the three-day tournament by squaring off against Arkansas at 12:30 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised on COX Sports TV with Lyn Rollins and Ron Swoboda providing the play-by-play. Live stats will also be available through GameTracker by logging on to www.latechsports.com.