Tech Drops Extra-Innings Affair to Northwestern State
Feb. 28, 2018
RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team battled back from three separate deficits, but a two-run 10th inning from the visiting Northwestern State Demons proved to be too much, as the Bulldogs dropped a 6-4 extra-inning affair on Wednesday evening from J.C. Love Field.
Tech (5-4) received yet another quality start from its starting rotation, as junior newcomer David Leal impressed in just his second game in a Tech uniform. The southpaw made it through 6.2 innings, giving up just three hits and one earned run, while striking out a Bulldog season-high, 12 batters and walking none. The 12 punch outs are the most by a Tech pitcher since Phil Maton accomplished the feat twice in 2015.
Through two starts this season, Leal has struck out 18 batters while walking none, and has allowed just one earned run across 13.2 innings pitched.
“It’s frustrating, but there’s a lot of baseball ahead of us,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “Bottom line is that we didn’t play well tonight. I’m not taking anything away from Northwestern State, because I thought they did a good job. We can’t get this one back tonight, but we’ll keep working and moving forward and we’ll figure it out.”
Northwestern State (5-3) ended the game 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while the Tech offense struggled to a 1-for-14 clip on the evening.
The Demons drew first blood in the top of the second, after an RBI double from Luke Watson tagged Leal for his first earned run in a Tech uniform. However, the lefthander settled into a comfortable rhythm, and allowed just two baserunners the remainder of his time on the mound.
As Leal settled into his groove, Northwestern State leaned on reliever Danny Hlad, who entered the game in the fourth frame and went 4.1 innings, allowing just one run on four hits. Hlad came into the game for Demon starter Jerry Maddox, who allowed just one earned run, but labored through 3.2 innings, allowing nine Tech baserunners.
The game remained tied at one until the top of the seventh, when with two outs, Josh Carpenter entered the game for Leal. Carpenter, who had been extremely effective in just over six innings of work this season, issued a two-out single to Watson, followed by a five-pitch walk to Kelsey Richard. Caleb Ricca then singled on a 1-1 count, breaking the tie.
Trailing 2-1, the Tech offense was jolted back to life after leadoff man Hunter Wells drove an opposite field solo home run into left field, tying the game at two. Shortstop Dalton Skelton followed up with a single and moved into second on a wild pitch, but a strikeout from Mason Mallard and a double play after Chris Clayton flied to right and Skelton was gunned down trying to take third, ended the Tech threat.
The Demons jumped back out in front, this time in the top of the ninth, after a pair of RBI singles for Richard and Austin Stegall stretched the lead to 4-2.
However, the Tech offense once again found an answer after a clutch two-RBI triple from Mason Mallard scored Wells and Robinson and again evened the score, this time at 4-4. With Mallard on third and one out, Clayton was intentionally walked, and Parker Bates grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the top of the 10th, junior Ben Stiglets (0-1) entered to pitch in his second game in a Tech uniform, but allowed an RBI double to Richard, and a sac fly from Ricca, as the Demons put up a two spot in the extra frame.
Northwestern State’s Jose Vasquez (2-0) came back out for the bottom of the 10th and struck out the side, notching his second win of the year.
Hunter Wells paced the Bulldog offense, going 4-for-5 while scoring two runs from the leadoff spot. Mallard, Bates and Robinson also notched multiple hit efforts. Tech used seven relievers out of the pen , highlighted by Braxton Smith, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning and striking out a pair.
Tech returns to action this weekend at the Frisco Baseball Classic in Frisco, Texas. The Bulldogs will square off with No. 8 Texas A&M on Friday at 7 p.m. Tech will then play Cal on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Baylor in Sunday at 3 p.m. All contests can be watched live on both the Frisco Classic’s Facebook and YouTube channels. All the weekend’s action can be listened to through the LA Tech X Mobile App with Mark Cramer on the call throughout the three-game set.
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