March 1, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech took the second game of today's double header, 3-2, over Minnesota to tie the series with the Golden Gophers after dropping the first game, 4-2, in extra innings at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Tyler Ervine's solo home run that cleared the right field wall in the eighth inning was enough to give LA Tech (3-6, 1-2 C-USA) a one-run lead and the eventual win over Minnesota (5-3, 0-0 Big Ten) in the second game of the weekend series.
In the first game of the day, the Bulldogs were knotted 2-2 with Minnesota in extra innings before an RBI double to right field by Mark Tatera scored two runners in the top of the 10th inning and gave the Gophers the win in the series opener.
"I thought these were two well-played games," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "Our four pitchers that threw today did an outstanding job altogether. We only gave up a combined seven freebies with walks and errors in both games, which is way lower than the past few games.
"We have now put ourselves in a position to win the series and that was our goal. That is why we bumped up Richie Navari to pitch today. We had to win that second game to have the opportunity to win the series. We also had our chances in the first game, but we let it get away from us at the end."
The third and final game of the series is set to begin at 11:30 a.m., tomorrow with the Bulldogs going for their first series victory of the season over Minnesota.
GAME 1: Minnesota 4, LA Tech 2 (10 inn.)
In the series opener, Minnesota jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first after Connor Schaefbauer led off the inning with a single to left field before scoring on an RBI single up the middle by Dan Olinger.
The Bulldogs wasted no time and responding with a lone run of their own in the bottom half of the first after an RBI single down the right field line by Ervine scored Taylor Love from second base.
Phil Maton started for Tech and held the Golden Gophers scoreless until the fifth when Minnesota once again took a one-run lead on an RBI single by Schaefbauer scored Jake Bergren to make it 2-1.
LA Tech knotted the score one final time in the sixth after Love led off the inning with a bunt single and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Gophers. Love scored on the next at bat when Ervine grounded out to second for an RBI.
With the score 2-2 after nine complete innings, Tatera's two-RBI double gave Minnesota the lead and the momentum for the first victory of the day. The Bulldogs put up a fight in the bottom of the 10th and threatened with bases loaded, but failed to cross the plate in the last frame.
Laetten Galbraith threw three innings in relief and was charged with the loss in Game 1. Galbraith (1-1) gave up two runs off four hits, while striking out one and walking one. Maton pitched 7.0 innings in the start, allowing two runs off five hits and striking out five Minnesota batters.
Dalton Sawyer (1-0) picked up the win for the Gophers after pitching 3.2 innings in relief and holding the Bulldogs scoreless, while allowing five hits and striking out three. Kevin Kray (1) came on in the 10th with two outs and the bases loaded to get the final out for his first save of the season. Alec Crawford start for Minnesota and allowed two runs - one earned - off seven hits in 6.0 innings of work.
Love led the Bulldogs in the opener with a 3-for-5 performance with two runs scored, while Tyler Qualls and Ryan Jones each totaled two hits apiece. Ervine drove in the only two runs of the game for LA Tech.
GAME 2: LA Tech 3, Minnesota 2
Louisiana Tech jumped out to a 1-0 lead early on in the second game of the double header after Colby Johnson led off the game with a single before later scoring from third base after attempting to steal home, which caused the Minnesota pitcher to balk and giving the Bulldogs the advantage.
An additional run in the fifth on an RBI fielder's choice by Love gave LA Tech a two-run lead that would last until the top of the seventh when a two-run home run to right field by Tatera put Minnesota on the board and tied the game.
Ervine broke the 2-2 tie an inning later after sending the first pitch of the at bat over the right field fence for a solo home run, his second of the season, and the eventual winning run.
"It was important for us going into the second game to even the series up and give us a chance to take it on Sunday," Ervine said. "This is the first weekend we have had a chance to actually win the series on the final day and it feels good knowing we have that opportunity going into tomorrow."
Richie Navari (2-0) came on in relief and earned the win for the Bulldogs after allowing two runs off eight hits in 5.0 innings of work. Navari tied a career high for strikeouts with seven on the day. Adam Derouen received his first start of the season for LA Tech and threw 4.0 innings and allowed just one hit and no runs in the outing.
Matt Fiedler (1-1) was charged with the loss for Minnesota after coming on in relief in the fifth. Fiedler threw 3.1 innings and allowed two run off one hit, while fanning five Bulldog hitters in the outing. Jess Jordan started for the Golden Gophers and gave up two runs off six hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Ervine led Tech at the plate in Game 2 with a 3-for-4 effort with a home run, RBI and run scored. Johnson also totaled two hits in the contest and scored a run. Chandler Hall and Jones each had a hit in the game for a total of seven Bulldog base knocks.
Tatera led the Gophers with a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a home run, two RBI and a run. Schaefbauer and Olinger also had two hits each for Minnesota in the game.
Tomorrow's rubber match is set for an 11:30 a.m. first pitch with the Bulldogs fighting for a series victory over the Golden Gophers.
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