April 25, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech scored three runs in the first inning and held on late in the game for a 7-5 victory over Alabama A&M Friday night in the series opener at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Despite some shaky defense by LA Tech (11-27), who committed five errors as a team on the night, the Bulldog pitching staff came through, along with the help of a two-run home run by Taylor Burch in the fifth, to help clinch the first Friday night win of the season for head coach Wade Simoneaux and company over the visitors from Alabama A&M (17-26).
"Tonight wasn't pretty, but it is a win and we'll take it," Wade Simoneaux said. "We have to gain some momentum this weekend and do better in tomorrow's game. It is good to get a win and I thought we executed well and had some good hits throughout the game."
Junior right-hander Austin Greer (1-0) earned his first win as a Bulldog after pitching a season-long 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on four hits to help get the Bulldogs a win. With bases loaded in the sixth inning, Eric Dunbar came on in relief and forced Alabama A&M into a double play to end the threat. Dunbar ended up pitching 2.2 innings and giving up three runs - one earned - on four hits. Laetten Galbraith (3) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his third save of the season.
Benjamin Ryder (0-4) was charged with the loss for Alabama A&M after allowing four runs on four hits in two innings on the mound. Dakota Smith came on in relief of Ryder in the third and gave up one run on three hits with two strikeouts in 2.0 innings. Caleb Bowen gave up the final two runs of the game in two innings, before Payden Khun pitching the final two innings for the visiting Bulldogs.
The host Bulldogs wasted no time jumping on top as Tech had runners on the corners in the first after a walk by Colby Johnson and a single by Ryan Jones, which set up an RBI-single to center field by Taylor Love. Bre'shon Kimbell followed up with an RBI double down the left field line, while Steven Blanchard had an RBI fielder's choice to make it 3-0 in favor of LA Tech in the first.
Alabama A&M answered back in the second with a run of its own after Jordan Friend singled to score Andrew Utterback and cut LA Tech's lead to 3-1. In the bottom half of the second, the back-and-forth continued as a two-out walk by Jones set up Love's RBI double to right center field to give Tech a 4-1 advantage.
One run in the third made it a 5-1 lead for the Bulldogs from Louisiana Tech, but Alabama A&M continued to claw its way back into the game with a run in the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Ramon Nelson to make it a three-run lead for Tech.
It was a two-run long ball by Burch that cleared the left field fence in the bottom half of the fifth that gave Tech it's final two runs of the game and stretched the lead to 7-2 over Alabama A&M.
The Bulldogs from Alabama A&M scored three runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined with the help of three LA Tech errors to make it a tight 7-5 ball game, but Galbraith came on in the ninth to clinch the victory for the host Bulldogs.
Love led the Bulldogs on the night with a 3-for-5 effort with a double, two RBI and a run scored, while Kimbell tallied two hits, including an RBI double, in four at bats. Burch was 1-for-4 in the win with a two-run home run, his second of the year, while Steven Blanchard and Johnson each had an RBI to help lead Tech to a win. Stephen Gandy also came on in the seventh as a pinch hitter and roped a double to center field.
Austin Hulsey and Jordan Friend each recorded two hits and an RBI apiece for Alabama A&M, while Dustin Dhanani and Nelson also had RBI in the loss.
The series continues at 3 p.m. on Saturday with freshman right-hander Braden Bristo set to start on the mound for the Bulldogs. Alabama A&M will counter with right-hander Ryan Ahrens.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.