Dageford Singles in Game-Winner to Top Southern Miss. 4-3
March 19, 2010
RUSTON--Devon Dageford's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth lifted Louisiana Tech (9-9) to a 4-3 win over Southern Miss. (12-5) Friday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
With runners on first and second and one out, Dageford sent a bullet up the middle that bounced off Southern Miss pitcher Collin Cargill allowing Kyle Roliard to score from third and give the Bulldogs the 4-3 victory.
I thought this was a good win against a team with a lot of guys returning from a College World Series appearance last season." Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "Their starter is a preseason all-American and their closer they brought in is one of the best in the country and Dageford really did an excellent job of two-strike hitting to get the pitch he wanted and drive in the winning run."
Louisiana Tech starting pitcher Jamey Bradshaw (1-0) recorded his fifth straight quality start in as many chances for the Bulldogs. The senior was outstanding in 7.1 innings of work as he allowed three runs off seven hits while striking out five and did not walk a batter.
"Bradshaw has really stepped up this year and he knows he has to step up to help this team win," Simoneaux said. "He's a Friday night type of guy when he throws like he did tonight. The key for him tonight was to get ahead in the count and make them try to hit his pitches that were outside the zone."
The Bulldogs broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when catcher Clint Ewing launched a two-run homerun over the leftfield fence off of preseason all-American pitcher Todd McInnis.
Bradshaw held the Golden Eagles' bats down until the sixth inning when Southern Miss. plated one run with a flawless small-ball approach at the plate to cut the Tech lead to 2-1. Catcher Travis Graves led off the inning by being hit by a pitch and was moved to second by a sacrifice bunt. Second baseman Taylor Walker then drove Graves in with a single up the middle. USM looked as if they were going to put another base-runner on until Dageford robbed B.A. Vollmuth of a base hit with an impressive sliding catch down the rightfield line.
Tech answered the Golden Eagles' run in the top of the inning with a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth as Roliard sent a ball over the leftfield fence to put the Bulldogs up 3-1. The hit was the leftfielder's first collegiate homerun.
Southern Miss. cut the Tech lead to one again in the seventh inning before coming back to tie the game at three in the top of the eighth. USM's Travis Creel led-off the inning with a single up the middle before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Creel came in to score on a Walker single forcing Tech to go to the bullpen and bring in Caleb Dudley. The true freshman retired the next two batters to close the door on the Golden Eagles in the eighth and did not allow a run in the ninth to set up Dageford's game winning single.
Dudley threw one and two thirds of an inning in relief for the Bulldogs as he struck out two and only allowed one hit.
"Caleb (Dudley) was a shortstop at Texas High and Coach Rountree saw him pitch in relief behind three or four drafted guys at Texas High and really liked what he saw from him," Simoneaux said. "He is a very good fielder because he was a shortstop and he has a mentality on the mound that he can go get anybody and he's been one of our go to guys out of the bullpen."
Tech pitchers did not walk a single Southern Miss. batter on the night. However, the two Tech pitchers did combine to hit three batters.
The top four batters of Tech's lineup (Roliard, Mark Threlkeld, Alex Williams and Dageford) all recorded two hits in the ballgame. Catcher Clint Ewing also totaled two hits as well as leading all Bulldogs with two RBI.
"I thought the key to the game was making their starter throw 102 pitches in five innings," Simoneaux said. "Our guys were patient and did a great job of two-strike hitting all night. Even the outs we made, we made their pitcher throw six or seven pitches in the at-bat."
The Bulldogs and Golden Eagles will face-off again tomorrow at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. CT. Fans can listen to the game live on the radio by tuning into 99.3 The Peach for Saturday's game only. Sunday's game will be broadcast on 97.7 ESPN radio.
The action can also be found via gametracker on www.latechsports.com. A live internet stream of the contest will also be available which will be linked up to Dave Nitz's radio broadcast to those with a subscription to LA Tech All-Access.
Tech fans are reminded that single game tickets are now available through TicketMaster and the Tech Ticket Office along with a number of premium chair-backs still available which can be hand-picked by fans for $130 online at www.latechsports.com, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631.