April 30, 2009
HONOLULU -- Freshman Jeb Stefan pitched 7 2/3 innings and struck out a career-high 12 batters Thursday night as Louisiana Tech (23-18, 8-9 WAC) took the first game of the four-game set over Hawai'i (26-17, 9-7 WAC) 5-1 at Les Murakami Stadium.
"Our freshmen really came through for us tonight," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "All five runs that we drove in were driven in by freshmen. We also had two freshmen combine for a great pitching performance.
"I thought our players really came out with some energy tonight and fought. We hit some balls extremely hard, and we were relentless at the plate throughout the game. They made some outstanding plays to stop us from scoring more runs, but we continued to put pressure on them every inning."
Through the first three innings of the series opener, Stefan allowed only one hit and one walk. He also struck out five.
Hawai'i totaled their first hit of the night in the fourth inning. At that time, the Rainbows had base runners on first and second with no outs. Stefan recorded the first two outs of the inning by forcing left fielder Sean Montplaisir to ground out and by striking out designated hitter Jeffrey Van Doornum. Following the second out, right fielder Matt Roquemore was hit by pitch to load the bases. Stefan escaped the jam by forcing shortstop Greg Garcia to pop out to shortstop Chris Kersten.
In the following two innings, Stefan continued to throw well as he added four more strikeouts to his stat line. His last strikeout in the seventh inning was his 11th of the night, a new career-high.
"My fastball and breaking ball were working for me tonight," Stefan said. "Early in the game, my palm ball/changeup was moving pretty good as well. Clint Ewing helped me out tremendously tonight behind the plate. Not a single hitter saw a particular pitch twice during their at-bat. That caused Hawai'i's hitters to stay off-balance the entire time."
In 7 2/3 innings, Stefan allowed only five hits, an earned run and one walk. He also struck out a career-high 12 batters.
Alex Williams gave the Bulldogs an early 1-0 lead after he stroked an RBI single to score Kersten in the second inning.
An error came back to hurt the Rainbows in the fourth inning. After Devon Dageford singled, Williams reached base by a fielding error. Mark Threlkeld then smashed a three-run home run to extend Tech's lead, 4-0.
Threlkeld made the play of the game for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Morford hit a hard hit ball to Threlkeld's left. Tech's third baseman needed to dive just to knock down the ball. Once he got on his feet, he threw a laser to Williams at first base to retire Morford.
Threlkeld once again reached base, this time by a single in the seventh inning. Kyle Roliard singled to left field to score Threlkeld and increase Tech's lead, 5-0, with two outs.
Jefferson pitched the final 1 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out one.
Stefan improved his record to 4-5 on the year. In his last outing on April 25 at Sacramento State, he struck out 10 batters.
Threlkeld led the Bulldogs by going 3-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI.
Game two of the series is scheduled for 11:35 p.m. CST on Friday. Dylan Moseley (4-3, 5.34 ERA) will start for the Bulldogs. He will oppose freshman right-hander Matt Sisto (4-4, 4.12 ERA).
Dave Nitz will bring fans the play-by-play action on ESPN 97.7 FM. An audio feed will also be available at www.espn977.com. The pregame show will begin at approximately 11:25 p.m. CST.
Hawai'i will video stream the game at www.hawaiiathletics.com. The price to view the game is $6.28.
Live stats will be available at www.latechsports.com.