March 15, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Phil Maton pitched a complete game and struck out a season-high seven batters to lead Louisiana Tech to a 3-2 league win over Florida Atlantic and tie the series at one game apiece Saturday afternoon at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton.
Maton (2-2) earned the win for LA Tech (7-11, 2-3 C-USA) after pitching the fourth complete game of his career and his first of the 2014 campaign. The Chatham, Ill. native did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and held Florida Atlantic (13-7, 2-3 C-USA) to just two hits until the ninth when the Owls ended Maton's shutout by scoring two runs on two base hits in the final frame.
The junior right-hander was lights out for the Bulldogs in his best outing of the season as he allowed just one FAU runner past second base up until the ninth inning. The Owls managed just five base runners for the first eight innings of Saturday's game before scoring two in the ninth to break up the shutout.
"Phil Maton was great all day and he really pitched well and came through for us against a good FAU team today," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "We also had several guys that had some keys hits for us against a team like Florida Atlantic that can pitch, so that was important."
Jeremy Strawn (2-3) was charged with the loss for FAU after allowing one run in the second inning on an RBI single by Ryan Jones to give the Bulldogs an early lead in the second game of the series. Strawn allowed seven hits in 7.0 innings on the mound, while striking out two and walking one. Bo Logan came on for the Owls in the eighth and gave up one run in both the eighth and ninth innings off three LA Tech hits.
LA Tech added one final run in the ninth when Thomas Simoneaux, who reached base on a hit by pitch to lead off the inning, scored on an RBI single by Bre'shon Kimbell to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the ninth.
That third and final run of the day proved to be important for Tech as Florida Atlantic put up a valiant effort in the bottom of the ninth, scoring two runs with two outs thanks to an RBI double by Tyler Rocklein, who later scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2 in favor of Louisiana Tech. The late comeback for the Owls finally ended on a fly ball to left field by pinch hitter Esteban Puerta to clinch the victory for the Bulldogs.
Four hitters in Tech's lineup had multiple-hit days with Tyler Ervine leading the charge with three base hits on the afternoon. Qualls had one of the more productive days at the plate for the Bulldogs with a 2-for-4 effort with an RBI and run scored, while Kimbell and Jones each had two hits apiece and an RBI to help lead Tech to victory. Stephen Gandy was also 1-for-4 with a double, while Love extended his reached base streak to 16 games after reaching first base on a fielder's choice bunt in the eighth inning.
The Bulldogs totaled 10 hits in the win, while Florida Atlantic was held to just four base knocks with Rocklein leading the Owls with a 1-for-3 day with an RBI and run scored. Billy Endris, Stephen Kerr and Ricky Santiago each had one hit apiece for FAU.
The Conference USA series is now tied at 1-1 with the rubber match scheduled for 12 p.m. CT Sunday at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. Senior right-hander Richie Navari (3-0) is scheduled to start for the Bulldogs, while FAU will counter with right-hander Drew Jackson, who comes into tomorrow's contest with a record of 2-0 on the year.
Sunday's deciding game will be broadcast on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM, while subscribers can listen online on LA Tech All-Access. Live stats will also be available for the final game of the weekend via GameTracker by accessing the link on the baseball schedule page on LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.