Balanced Offensive Attack Paves Way in Bulldogs’ 10-6 Win over Cal
March 3, 2018
FRISCO, Texas – The Louisiana Tech offense continued its patient approach and timely hitting, capitalizing on two separate four-run innings, in 10-6 victory over the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday afternoon from Dr. Pepper Ballpark.
"I didn’t like the way we began things, from an energy standpoint,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I called the team up and they responded. Cal has a really scary lineup. They have some of the most mature hitters I’ve seen in a while. I’m just proud of our guys. They responded to a sluggish start and competed their tails off and beat another good ball club today.”
Tech worked one of its most patient offensive efforts of the season, drawing eight walks, highlighted by its first four-run frame of the day, trailing 1-0, in the fourth inning.
The inning began inconspicuously with a Mason Mallard flyout to first, however, back-to-back walks from Tanner Huddleston and Chris Clayton quickly put two runners on with just one out. Parker Bates then popped out for the second out of the inning, but an infield single from Mason Robinson juiced the bases.
After the Robinson single, the Tech bats would not be needed the rest of the inning. Logan Bailey created Tech’s first run of the game, after an RBI hit by pitch, that evened the score at one. Freshman Taylor Young followed up with his first-career RBI on an impressive six-pitch walk, plating another two-out run.
That would end the day for Cal starter P.J. Matulovich, who left the game, responsible for all three Bulldogs on base. Zayne Patino entered in relief for the Golden Bears and immediately walked Hunter Wells on four straight pitches, scoring another run. The following Tech batter Dalton Skelton worked a patient seven-pitch at bat, resulting in the sixth free pass (five walks, one HBP) of the frame, and giving Tech an early 4-1 edge.
The Golden Bears would cut the deficit to two in the bottom half of the fourth after an error from Robbins placed the Bears’ second run of the game on third. Robbins buckled down however, and did not allow the mental miscue to effect the game, wrapping up the inning on a double-play ground ball and a strikeout.
Robbins went 4.1 innings, giving up five hits and three runs (two earned), while walking two and striking out three in a no decision.
In the fifth, Tech would tack on another run, courtesy of an RBI from first baseman Logan Bailey. Huddleston smoked a one-out single into right, and Bates was hit by a pitch, bringing up Bailey who wasted no time in mashing an RBI single into right field.
In the bottom of the fifth, Robbins handed things over to the bullpen. Tyler Follis came in for the southpaw starter with a man on first and one out. However, the potent Cal offense came to life, notching a double, single and a walk of Follis, ending his night without registering an out.
Braxton Smith entered the game and was tagged for a 2-RBI double from Jonah Davis, who finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI. With men on second and third in a tie ballgame, Smith notched a big swinging strikeout of Korey Lee, ending the inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Tech offense had another response for the three-run Golden Bear’s fifth. Huddleston, who played the offensive hero in Tech’s Friday night win over No. 9 Texas A&M, launched his second three-run home run in as many nights, breaking a 5-5 tie.
“Huddleston’s JUCO numbers were absolutely off the charts,” added Burroughs. “He’s been struggling coming into this weekend, but him and coach Creel have worked on not letting pitches get below him. He got going last night, but he’s also helping us win in other ways. He’s playing great defense and running the bases well. He’s a power guy who can put up numbers quickly, and it was good to see him drive it out of here.”
Bailey would add another RBI on a double down the right field line, extending the Tech lead to 9-5, and registering the team’s second four-run inning of the afternoon.
The middle of the Tech lineup was absolutely crucial in the offensive success, as Clayton, Huddleston and Bates combined to go 4-for-13 and scoring six runs. Tech used production from every spot in the lineup, as every Bulldog player reached base at least twice on the afternoon.
Smith, picked up his first win in a Tech uniform, tossing 2.1 innings and striking out three, while allowing just two hits. Kyle Griffen pitched 1.1 frames, also giving up two hits, but allowing no runs and starting a big 1-2-3 double play, ending a bases-loaded one-out threat for Cal in the bottom of the eighth.
Kent Hasler closed out the game in the ninth, striking out two and preserving a 10-6 final.
“We didn’t want to use Kent again today,” said Burroughs. “But, he’s a warrior and a competitor. He wants the ball, so we let him go with it.”
Tech, who is now the only remaining Frisco Classic team without a loss this weekend, will look to end on a high note in the weekend finale, Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. against the Baylor Bears. Tech is slated to throw Logan Bailey (1-0, 1.64 ERA) while Baylor’s starter has yet to be determined.
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