Bulldogs Wrap Up Weekend Sweep with 9-3 Win over HBU
March 11, 2018
RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team staked a 9-3 win over the visiting Houston Baptist Huskies on Sunday afternoon from J.C. Love Field in front of a crowd of 1,311, clinching Tech’s first weekend sweep of 2018.
“We challenged our guys when they left the ballpark yesterday,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “We told them to come out with their hair on fire today, and I thought we did that. We set the tone on that two spot in the first. We had a couple miscues in the field, but I’m proud of our guys for persevering. It was a struggle. That’s a good ball club over there, and they’ve played a great schedule and are going to have a great year. I’m proud of our guys not being satisfied with just winning the series, and getting this sweep today against a good program.”
The Tech (12-5) offense came to play in the series finale, notching nine runs on 12 hits. Five Bulldogs ended the afternoon with multiple-hit efforts as Hunter Wells (2-for-3, 2 BB), Dalton Skelton (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 R), Mason Mallard (2-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB), Chris Clayton (2-for-5, 1 RBI), Taylor Young (2-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 BB), and Parker Bates (1-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 R) paced the offense in a solid all-around outing.
After the successful weekend, Tech now has seven players batting .280 or better, as Bates (.344), Wells (.343), Skelton (.338), Young (.333) and Mallard (.313) have done an admirable job of setting the table for Tech’s four and five hitters, Huddleston (.288) and Clayton (.283).
Logan Bailey (2-1) picked up the win, tossing six innings, allowing just one earned run and striking out a career-high eight batters. Bailey did not walk a batter and scattered five hits throughout the afternoon.
The Tech starting pitching rotation continued to improve on its already gaudy numbers 17 games into the season. Bulldog starts have now combined for 104.2 innings, allowing just 11 earned runs (0.95 ERA), while striking out 107 and walking just 17, for by far the most productive starting rotation in all of college baseball. As a team, Tech continues to lead Conference USA with a 1.88 ERA.
Tech has now won seven of its last eight contests dating back to the start of the Frisco Classic last weekend.
HBU once again struck early in the first inning, after a pair of Tech errors allowed Spencer Halloran to score the game’s first run.
However, the resilient Tech offense put together big hits with two outs as a pair of RBI singles for Bates and Young, gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead after the first.
HBU would come back with a run in the top of the second, but Tech quickly grabbed the lead again in the bottom half, as Mallard stroked an RBI double into deep center field, scoring Skelton.
Both pitchers made it through the third and fourth innings unscathed, before HBU tied the game at three in the top of the fifth on an RBI groundout from Halloran.
That would be the end of the scoring for the Huskies on the day, as Tech pitching buckled down, giving the offense an opportunity for six runs over the final three innings.
In the sixth, Skelton came through with the bases loaded, cracking a 2-RBI single into right, breaking the 3-3 tie, and putting Tech ahead 5-3.
“Dalton is just a solid college player,” Burroughs noted. “He’s our run returner from last year who played every day, so he has instant credibility with our guys. He’s a great leader out there. That was a huge hit for him, to put us in the lead.”
Young, the freshman from West Monroe added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single, scoring Bates who was hit by a pitch and moved into scoring position on his seventh stolen base of the year.
In the eighth, Tech sent eight men to the plate, and cashed in for a pair of runs, after a bases loaded walk from Bates and a sac fly to centerfield for Young.
Tech capitalized on a season-high four HBPs, while drawing six walks as a unit.
“Tip of the cap to our fans once again,” Burroughs concluded. “Not the most ideal conditions today. We talk about dominating the elements, and that carries over to our fans. I thought they dominated the elements today with the rain and the cold. It’s always tough with the time change and a Sunday afternoon game, but I’m very thankful for our fans coming out and supporting the guys today, and helping us get this sweep.”
The Bulldogs return to action on Tuesday, travelling to Little Rock, Arkansas, for a midweek contest against the Trojans (8-8). The game can be heard on SportsTalk 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz on the call. Be sure to follow @LATechBSB on Twitter for in-game updates throughout.
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