Navari, Bulldogs Shut Down No. 25 Aggies, 5-1
March 9, 2014
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - After knocking on the door in the first two games of the series, Louisiana Tech (5-10) used a four-run eighth inning and a complete game by Richie Navari to defeat No. 25 Texas A&M (11-5), 5-1, Sunday afternoon at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.
Today's win over Texas A&M marks the first victory for Louisiana Tech over a ranked team since May 8, 2011 when the Bulldogs defeated No. 19 Fresno State in Ruston.
"Richie stayed within himself and pitched a great ballgame," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "He didn't have an inning where we even considered going to the bullpen, and then Taylor Burch had a tremendous hit for us at a clutch time, and that opened the door. In my eyes, we played Texas A&M straight up all weekend. The guys responded well today and I am proud of them for hanging in there."
Navari (3-0) put together yet another lights out performance on the mound, allowing just one run in a complete game effort in College Station to earn the win for the Bulldogs. This marks the second complete game of the season for Navari as the Bulldogs move to 4-0 when the senior right hander appears in a game.
With the game knotted at 1-1 after seven inning of play, LA Tech's Taylor Love led off the eighth with a walk, followed by a single to centerfield by Tyler Qualls to give the Bulldogs runners on second and third with one out. Taylor Burch then produced the eventual game-winning RBI single to left field to score Love from second and give Tech a 2-1 lead.
The hits kept coming for the Bulldogs in the eighth with Thomas Simoneaux loading the bases on a bunt single to bring up Ryan Jones, who was hit by a pitch to bring Qualls home to score. Bre'shon Kimbell followed up with an RBI single to right field to score Burch, while Simoneaux scored the final run of the inning for Tech on a ground ball by Colby Johnson to give the Bulldogs a 5-1 lead over the Aggies.
Ryan Hendrix came on in relief in the seventh inning and was charged with the loss after pitching 0.1 innings, allowing Love to walk and eventually come around to score for the Bulldogs' game-winning run. Grayson Long started for Texas A&M and pitched 6.2 innings of four-hit baseball, while giving up one run and walking four Tech batters. The one run Long gave up was the first run he has given up this season. Jason Freeman came on in exchange for Hendrix in the eighth and gave up three runs on four hits in an inning of work, while Matt Kent, Ty Schlottmann and Corey Ray all three pitched for the Aggies on the afternoon.
Early on in the second inning, LA Tech's Burch reached base on a one-out walk, then advanced to second base on a ground ball by Thomas Simoneaux. An RBI single to right field by Jones drove in Burch to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the second.
The Aggies attempted to respond in the bottom half of the second with a single and double, but both base runners were eventually thrown out at home to preserve the lead for LA Tech.
Texas A&M eventually knotted the game in the third after a one-out walk followed by a double by Jace Statum gave the Aggies runners on second and third. A ground ball to second by J.B. Moss on the next at bat drove home Patrick McLendon from third base to tie the game at 1-1 after three innings.
LA Tech threated in the top half of the seventh when Jones and Johnson each walked to bring up Tyler Ervine with two outs, but the first baseman was retired on a foul ball popped up to the third baseman.
Both teams had opportunities to break the 1-1 tie on multiple occasions throughout the game, but were held scoreless from the fourth inning until the eighth when Tech scored to go ahead.
Jones led the Bulldogs with two RBI and a 1-for-2 performance at the dish, while Burch came through in the clutch for Tech with a 1-for-4 effort, including knocking in the game-winning RBI in the eighth. Burch also scored two runs. Kimbell put together a two-hit day with a 2-for-5 day at the plate with an RBI, while Colby Johnson walked three times in the game for Tech. Ervine, Love, Gandy, Qualls and Simoneaux each had one hit apiece in the win.
The Aggies were led by Troy Stein and Patrick McLendon, who each had two hits and a walk on the day. J.B. Moss was 1-for-4 and drove in the lone run for Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs return home now to host Grambling State at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
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