April 29, 2014
NATCHITOCHES, La. - Louisiana Tech scored seven runs in the first four innings to propel the Bulldogs to a 10-5 victory and a series split against Northwestern State Tuesday night at Brown-Stroud Field in Natchitoches.
LA Tech's (14-27) bats came alive early on, while freshman left-hander Mark Baughman was impressive in his first career start on the mound to help notch a win over Northwestern State (25-20) in the series finale. The win tonight makes it four straight for the Bulldogs, the longest winning streak this season.
"I thought Baughman came out tonight and gave us a good, quality start," head coach Wade Simoneaux. "It makes it a little easier to win when you jump out with a 7-1 lead like we did. Northwestern State is having a good year and they are a well-coached ball club, so it was a good win for us tonight."
Baughman (1-2) earned his first career win on the mound after allowing one run on four hits in five full innings of work. Eric Dunbar pitched the sixth and gave up two hits in an inning of work, before Luke Giddens came on in the seventh. Giddens' outing was short-lived as the left-hander walked the first three batters he faced and giving up two runs without recording an out. Phil Maton gave up one hit in 0.2 innings of relief. Austin Greer and Laetten Galbraith pitched the final two innings, giving up a combined two runs on three hits with four strikeouts.
The Demons pitched a total of six guys on the night, with Steven Spann (7-6) being charged with the loss after giving up three runs on two hits in the first two innings on the mound. Evan Tidwell gave up four runs - three earned - on six hits in the third and fourth innings.
Northwestern State made a dent in the scoreboard first after Edwin Gomez led off the bottom of the first with a double to left field. A sacrifice bunt moved Gomez to third, followed by an infield single by Caleb Dugas to give the Demons a 1-0 lead after one inning.
LA Tech responded quickly in the top of the second when Tyler Qualls led off the frame with a walk. Senior first baseman Tyler Ervine followed up by leaving the yard with a two-run home run to dead center field to put the Bulldogs up 2-1 over NSU. Thomas Simoneaux was hit by a pitch, but it was Bre'shon Kimbell's double to left field that gave Tech two runners on base with no outs. A ground ball by Steven Blanchard drove in the Bulldogs' third run of the inning to put LA Tech up 3-1 after an inning and a half.
Taylor Love and Stephen Gandy began the third with back-to-back singles to left field before Ervine came through once again with an RBI single up the middle to give LA Tech a 4-1 lead. Later in the inning, a fielder's choice by Thomas Simoneaux scored Gandy from third base and made it a four-run lead for the Bulldogs.
LA Tech kept lighting up the scoreboard in the fourth when Bre'shon Kimbell led off the inning with his first career triple to left field. Blanchard came through with his second RBI of the game on a single to left center to give Tech a 6-1 lead. Blanchard eventually came around to score on a fielding error by the Northwestern State second baseman for a 7-1 advantage for the Bulldogs through four innings.
After being held scoreless in the fifth, LA Tech picked back up in the sixth after Colby Johnson had a two-out single to right field, followed by a triple to right field by Ryan Jones to give Tech an 8-1 lead over Northwestern State. With Kimbell's triple earlier in the game, the Bulldogs had two triples in a game for the first time since the 2009 season.
Giddens came on to start the seventh for the Bulldogs, but was quickly relieved by Maton after walking the bases loaded, while recording no outs. Gomez came through for NSU with an RBI single to left field for the Demons' second run of the game, before a fielder's choice scored another to cut LA Tech's lead to 9-3. After loading the bases loaded once again with two outs, Maton got himself out of a jam to end the threat for Northwestern State.
The Demons added one run in the eighth and another in the ninth, but an insurance run by the Bulldogs in the ninth helped keep it a five-run lead for LA Tech.
Ervine led the Bulldogs at the plate with a 2-for-5 effort with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI in the win. Kimbell had a double and a triple, while Johnson also notched two hits with a run scored. Blanchard was 1-for-3 with an RBI, while Thomas Simoneaux was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
LA Tech out-hit Northwestern State, 12-10, while the 10 runs the Bulldogs scored is a season-high for the team. The 'Dogs tallied six extra-base hits in the victory over the Demons.
The Bulldogs will now travel to face Marshall in a three-game Conference USA series beginning at 6 p.m. CT on Friday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, W.Va.
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