Home Runs and Double Plays Cost Bulldogs Saturday
April 25, 2009
SACRAMENTO -- Two three-run home runs by Sacramento State (23-17, 4-6 WAC) hitters coupled with four forced double plays proved to be too costly in Louisiana Tech's (20-18, 5-9 WAC) 8-6 loss Saturday afternoon at Hornet Field.
"Jeb (Stefan) pitched well," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "But, he left a couple balls up in the strike zone, and Sacramento State capitalized on the mistakes. They had the breaks today and we did not. We hit some balls hard, but most of the balls were hit right at them. They turned four double plays. Those have hurt us the past few games, but we need to overcome them."
A hit followed by a walk put runners on first and second base with two outs in the bottom of the second inning for Hornet catcher Justin Lamb. Lamb put his team ahead 3-0 after he hit a three-run home run off of the top of the right-field fence.
In the third inning, an infield single by first baseman Blake Crosby extended Sacramento State's lead. Left fielder Jeff Roth then hit the Hornets' second three-run home run of the day to give his team a 7-0 advantage.
Through the first four frames, Sacramento State starter Jesse Darrah faced the minimum 12 batters and allowed only two hits, a single by Chris Kersten and a double by Patrick Thomas. He also recorded a pick off and forced a double play.
Darrah's success against Bulldog hitters weakened in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, Kersten was hit by a Darrah pitch. Alex Williams advanced Kersten to third after he singled to right field. Mark Threlkeld then drove in Kersten on an RBI single. After Kyle Roliard drew a walk, Clint Ewing smashed a grand slam, his second of his career. At the end of the top of the fifth, Sacramento State only led by two, 7-5.
Following the Hornets' four-run third inning, Stefan did not allow Sacramento State to score in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. In fact, at the end of the sixth inning, Stefan struck out a career-high 10 batters, the most strikeouts by a Bulldog pitcher this season.
Crosby increased Sacramento State's lead in the seventh inning, 8-5, after he hit a solo home run. Mike Jefferson relieved Stefan with two outs and a runner on first base in the inning. He was able to strikeout pinch hitter Joe Espana to end the frame.
Devon Dageford minimized Tech's deficit after he led off the ninth inning with a solo home run. His home run knocked out Darrah, who was attempting to throw a complete game. Roth replaced Darrah and hit his first batter, Kersten, to bring up the potential tying run, Williams. Roth was able to force Williams to ground into a double play, Sacramento State's fourth of the day. With two outs, Threlkeld singled to right field to bring up Roliard. Roliard hit a ground ball hard, but it was right at shortstop Derrick Chung, who stepped on second base to end the game.
Stefan received the loss and is now 3-5 on the season. His 10 strikeouts in 6.2 innings were the most strikeouts by a Tech pitcher in two years. Luke Burnett struck out 14 April 5, 2007 against New Mexico State.
Threlkeld led Tech with two hits, while Ewing led the team with four RBI.
Dylan Moseley (3-3, 5.40 ERA) will start for the Bulldogs on Sunday. He will oppose junior left-hander Tommy Elrod (4-2, 4.71 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST.
The third game of the series can be heard on ESPN 97.7 FM or online at www.espn977.com with the pregame show beginning at 2:50 p.m. CST
Fans can follow an animated version of the game by clicking on "Live Stats" at www.hornetsports.com.
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