March 4, 2008
WACO, Texas - A five-run rally in the ninth inning, sparked by big hits from Clint Stubbs and Clay Alexander, helped Louisiana Tech snap a three-game losing skid and pick up a huge non-conference win over 11th-ranked Baylor, 9-6, before 2,591 at Baylor Ballpark.
After the Bears had scored a pair of unearned runs in the seventh and eighth innings, the Bulldogs (7-3) smacked four hits and took advantage of two walks to put up a five-spot and give Baylor (7-1) its first loss of the season.
"We did everything in our power to give them that game," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "But we got some clutch hits in the ninth and our guys battled."
The ninth started off with a walk by Alex Richard and a single by Adam Cobb. A bunt by Kevin Winn put the runners at second and third, and a walk to Albie Goulder loaded the bases for Clint Stubbs. The transfer from Texas - mercilessly heckled by the Baylor student section throughout the evening - came through with a two-run single to left, scoring Richard and Cobb to tie the game at 6-6.
After Chris Kersten grounded to second to advance the runners to second and third, Alexander came up with yet another 2-RBI pinch-hit to score Stubbs and Goulder and give Tech its first lead since the top of the first at 8-6. Patrick Thomas would follow with a single to right to make it 9-6 Bulldogs.
Aaron Lorio (1-0) would then retire the Bears in order in the bottom half, striking out the first two hitters, to pick up his first victory of the season.
"We can't be intimidated by a team's name or their ranking. We expect to beat these guys, and we expect to beat them tomorrow."
Cobb and Patrick Thomas led the Bulldog offense with three hits apiece, combining for four RBI on the night. Five other Bulldogs had hits on the evening, with four of Tech's 11 coming in the ninth.
Seven Bears accounted for Baylor's eight hits, with second baseman Landis Ware managing two base knocks. The Bears cut a trail on the basepaths, stealing four bases on the night, including a perfectly-executed straight steal of home to take the lead in the seventh.
Alan Knotts got the start for Tech and struggled early, giving up four runs on three hits, two walks, a wild pitch and a balk in the first inning alone. But the senior from Shreveport settled down and left after five innings with no further damage, allowing only three hits the rest of the way. The WAC Pitcher of the Week tied a career high with seven strikeouts on the night. Landon Braud did a great job in relief, giving up one run (unearned) on one hit.
Nick Cassavecchia (0-1), who entered the game with three saves for the Bears, was charged with his first loss after giving up four earned runs in the ninth.
Tech got off to a great start as Cobb led off the game with a home run for the third time this season. It was his WAC-leading fifth blast of the year to put the `Dawgs up early, 1-0.
But Baylor would have none of it. The Bears put three runs on the board before Knotts recorded an out on the strength of singles from Ben Booker, Adam Hornung and Dustin Dickerson to take a 3-1 lead. A wild pitch and a balk later, and Hornung scored to make it 4-1. Knotts would then retire the next three in order to get out of the inning with no further damage.
Tech would answer in short order. With one out in the second, Patrick Thomas singled home Chris Kersten from second to cut the lead to 4-2. After a Nick Grunenwald single, Cobb got his second RBI of the day with a single to right, bringing home Thomas to make it 4-3.
After a scoreless third, the Bulldogs would get some help from the Baylor defense, which committed two errors in the fourth that led to Patrick Thomas scoring the tying run, knotting the score at 4-4.
The two teams would trade scoreless innings until the bottom of the seventh when some shaky defense by the Bulldogs gave Baylor the lead once again. A dropped fly ball allowed Beamer Weems to advance to second, and he went to third when Braud's pickoff attempt at first went off the runner's leg and got past Goulder. Weems then caught Braud napping on a straight steal of home and beat the throw to give Baylor a 5-4 lead.
Another unearned run, this one with Lorio in the game, would cross for the Bears in the eighth. A routine fly ball to right was dropped by Stubbs, allowing Gregg Glime to advance to second. Shaver Hansen would bunt him to third, and the next batter, Paul Miles, would execute the squeeze play to perfection, scoring Glime to make it 6-4. This would pave the way for Tech's rally in the ninth.
Luke Burnett (0-0, 8.10) will take the hill for Wednesday's game, facing Baylor righthander Wade Mackey (1-0, 0.00). First pitch is set for 4 p.m., with the broadcast on ESPN 97.7 FM beginning at 3:45 p.m. Fans can listen online at www.espn977.com, and GameTracker will be available at www.latechsports.com.