Bulldogs Knock Off No. 9 Aggies to Open Frisco Classic
March 2, 2018
FRISCO, Texas – The Louisiana Tech baseball team utilized a dazzling start from starter Matt Miller and timely hitting from the middle of the lineup to take down previously unbeaten No. 9 Texas A&M, 4-2, on Friday night from Dr. Pepper Ballpark.
Miller (1-0) was nothing short of brilliant in earning his first win in his third start in a Tech (6-4) uniform. The junior transfer tossed seven innings, giving up just one unearned run, while holding one of the nation’s most potent offenses to just five hits. Miller did not issue a walk in the game, while striking out six and made the most of his 99 pitches.
“Every day is a new day, and every nine innings you navigate takes on its own story,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “This is huge from a confidence standpoint. I don’t think many people in this room saw our last two games, but they weren’t pretty. To come out here and got toe-to-toe with A&M was huge. Win or lose, I had already made up my mind – I was so proud of our guys and the way they competed. They played their tails off against an SEC Friday night starter. I worked in the SEC for four years, and those guys usually turn out to be big leaguers. I loved the way we stood in there and competed against him, and hopefully we can carry this over to tomorrow against a really good Cal team.”
Timely hitting, which had seemingly been absent in Tech’s first nine games of the season, showed up in a big way against the Aggies (9-1). Both pitchers were in control throughout, until Tech broke through for the first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Shortstop Dalton Skelton began the inning with a leadoff free pass, bringing up Mason Mallard. The Tech left-fielder laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moving Skelton into scoring position with just one out, and Tech’s cleanup hitter in Chris Clayton up at the plate.
The junior catcher wasted no time in shooting a single into right field. Skelton, who waited to see if the ball would get through, made an athletic slide to elude the tag at the plate, and plated the Bulldogs’ first run of the night. The play would go to a video review (the first usage this weekend), but the umpires upheld the original call, and the run stayed on the board.
Clayton then swiped second base, and Parker Bates drew a two-out walk, bringing up third baseman Tanner Huddleston. The Jones County JC transfer who had previously been in a funk at the plate, broke out of his slump in a big way, launching a three-run home run deep into the Texas night and well over the stands in left center field, pushing the Tech lead to 4-0.
Needing a shutdown inning, Miller immediately struck out the leadoff man for the first out of the seventh. The next batter, Coleman, stroked a one-out double into right center, building the Aggies’ first legit offensive threat of the night. Miller bore down and struck out Frizzell looking on three pitches.
The next batter, Wingate, hit a slow roller to short that Skelton had to rush a throw to first, and it sailed wide allowing the first Aggie run of the game. With the A&M faithful finally having something to cheer about, Miller bore down in his most crucial moment of the game and induced an inning-ending flyout to center.
In the eighth, Tech went to the pen with lefty Quinton Logan. The versatile junior transfer walked a pair, gave up a hit and allowed a run, but struck out one, and got two big outs. Coach Burroughs then called on closer Kent Hasler for a four-out save.
The senior right-hander needed just one pitch to close out the A&M threat in the eighth, stranding two men on base and keeping Tech’s lead at two.
In the final frame, Hasler gave up a pair of singles, but got a strikeout, flyout and groundout for his second save of the season.
The win over the nationally-ranked Aggies marked Tech’s 15th win over a ranked opponent since the start of the 2016 season (15-9).
Tech returns to action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m., taking on Cal, who also began the Frisco Classic with a win – an 8-2 triumph over the Baylor Bears.
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.
Be sure to tune in to @LATechBSB on Twitter for in-game updates throughout the weekend.
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