March 16, 2008
RUSTON, La. - A grand slam from Chris Bohannan and a solo home run from junior Nick Grunenwald led an 11-run, 10-hit attack for the Bulldogs as they finished off a three-game sweep of Tennessee-Martin on Sunday, winning 11-6 at J.C. Love Field.
Louisiana Tech (12-6) hit double digits in runs for the first time in 12 games as it ripped 10 hits and took advantage of five errors by Tennessee-Martin (1-13).
Grunenwald continued his hot hitting with a 4-for-5 afternoon, extending his hitting streak to a career-best four games. For the week, the junior shortstop hit .615 (8-for-13) with two home runs, five RBI and a whopping 1.154 slugging percentage. Jericho Jones went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs, and Bohannan's third-inning grand slam was his first career hit.
Jericho Jones (4-1) got the win with five innings of work, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out four. Alex Richard picked up his third save of the season with 2.2 innings of shutout ball, allowing only two hits and striking out a pair.
As has been the trend in recent games, Tech could not get on the board in the first inning, hitting into yet another double play.
But after Albie Goulder and Chris Kersten were both hit by a pitch in the second inning and Grunenwald hit a slow-roller deep in the hole at short for a base hit, the bases were juiced for Bohannan. Facing a full count, the sophomore outfielder ripped Ryan Lantz's offering over the right-field wall to give Tech its first grand slam of the season and a 4-0 lead.
Tech would add three more in the third, taking advantage of a UTM error. With runners on first and second, Jones - the cleanup hitter - took the Skyhawks by surprise when he lay down a bunt. Though Jones beat the throw to first, the catcher's throw sailed into right field, allowing Jones to take third and Clay Alexander and Drew Bunting to score, making it 6-0. Jones would score on the next pitch when Goulder flied out to center to make it 7-0.
Tech would get one of those back in the fifth inning after Grunenwald singled, then looked to be picked off when he broke for second on the pitcher's first move. But the UTM first baseman's throw sailed into center field, allowing Grunenwald to take third. Seeing that the Skyhawks were taking their sweet time getting the ball back to the infield, Tech coach Wade Simoneaux sent Grunenwald toward the plate. The throw was not in time, and the Bulldogs led 8-3.
A three-run homer in the seventh by the Skyhawks' Will Blackmon made things interesting at 8-6. But Tech would answer with a run in the seventh on Grunenwald's home run that just cleared the right-center wall to make it 9-6.
A pair of UT-Martin errors in the eighth, both with two outs, allowed Tech to get a pair of insurance runs. After a Kevin Winn single, Jones reached on a throwing error by the third baseman and advanced to second on the overthrow as Winn moved to third. UTM then intentionally walked Goulder to bring up Chris Kersten. He ripped a shot at the third baseman, who tried to retire Goulder at second. But his throw was wide of the bag and sailed into right field, allowing Winn and Jones to score to push the lead to 11-6.
Richard pitched a perfect ninth to finish off the sweep of Tennessee-Martin.
Tech will play its final game before beginning conference play on Tuesday night as cross-town rival Grambling State visits J.C. Love Field for a 6 p.m. game. This is a change from the original schedule, which had Tech visiting Grambling on Tuesday night. GameTracker will be available by logging on to www.latechsports.com.
Tuesday night will also mark the beginning of the "Can It" food drive, co-sponsored by Louisiana Tech and Grambling State in conjunction with Christian Community Action of Lincoln Parish. Fans of both schools are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to the Tech-Grambling games on March 18 at J.C. Love Field and on April 29 at Grambling. For fans and students unable to attend, a drop box will be available at both Woodson and Carver halls on the campus of Grambling State.