May 10, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Down by one run in the ninth, Louisiana Tech was one swing away from a win, but a double play ground ball ended the game and sealed the series for Charlotte with a 5-4 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
LA Tech (15-31, 5-21 C-USA) left 10 runners on base in the loss, while Charlotte (16-29-1, 8-17 C-USA) used a four-run sixth inning to clinch the series against the Bulldogs. Tech had the lead-off hitter on base in five different innings in the game, but seven of the Bulldogs' runners left stranded were in scoring position.
Phil Maton (3-8) started for the Bulldogs and was charged with the loss after allowing five runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings of work. The right-hander struck out three, walked three and hit two batters on the day. Freshman left-hander Mark Baughman came on in relief in the sixth after the 49ers had scored four runs to take the lead. Baughman did not allow a run on two hits, while striking out three in 3.1 innings on the mound.
Ryan Butler (4-7) earned the win for Charlotte after giving up four runs - two earned - on six hits in 6.1 innings pitched. Butler struck out three and walked four before Logan Sherer came on in relief in the seventh. Sherer, who was the designated hitter for the 49ers today, pitched just one-third of an inning, while giving up one hit and striking out one batter. Hunter May came on to pitch for Charlotte with two outs in the seventh and closed out the final two innings to earn his fourth save of the season.
After Charlotte held a 1-0 lead through the first four and a half innings, Louisiana Tech led off the fifth with back-to-back singles by Steven Blanchard and Taylor Burch. Colby Johnson then laid down a sacrifice bunt to the Charlotte third baseman, whose wild throw on the play allowed Blanchard and Burch to each score, while Johnson ended up at third base with no outs. Two line drives and a ground ball eventually ended the inning, but not before LA Tech took a 2-1 lead over Charlotte.
The lead, however, did not last long, as Charlotte regained the advantage in the top of the sixth after Derek Gallello was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, which set up Sherer's two-run home run to left field to make it 3-2 in favor of the 49ers. Later in the inning, Charlotte's Mikal Hill reached first on an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch and stole third to bring up Grant Dunnegan, who singled to left for a 4-2 Charlotte lead. The 49ers scored once more in the frame on an RBI double to left field by Jordan Hudson, which gave Charlotte a three-run lead over the Bulldogs.
The score remained 5-2 until the seventh when Johnson singled to center and Jones walked to give the Bulldogs two runners on base. Both runners moved up to second and third on a wild pitch by Sherer, before a passed ball by catcher Brett Lang allowed Johnson to score and cut Charlotte's lead to 5-3. Taylor Love followed up with an RBI double to left-center, which scored Jones from third and made it a one-run ball game with the 49ers holding a 5-4 lead.
In the eighth, the Bulldogs had their best chance to lead-off the inning with a double, but Charlotte center fielder Jordan Hudson robbed Tyler Ervine of a base hit in the right-center field gap for the first out. Thomas Simoneaux and Blanchard both followed up with base hits to give Tech two runners on, but a strikeout and ground ball ended the threat with one inning left to play.
Both Jones and Stephen Gandy were hit by pitches in the bottom of the ninth to set up a potential comeback by the Bulldogs, but a 4-6-3 double play ball by Qualls clinched the 5-4 victory for Charlotte.
After today's game, LA Tech has now played 14 one-run games over the course of this season and the Bulldogs are 6-8 in those contests.
Love and Blanchard each led the Bulldogs at the dish, as Love was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Blanchard was 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Burch also totaled a base knock in four at bats, while also scoring a run. Johnson was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run, while Simoneaux was 1-for-4 in the loss. Jones also reached base twice on walks and scored a run.
Sherer helped pace Charlotte's offense on the day with a 1-for-2 performance with a home run, two RBI, two runs and two walks. Hudson and T.J. Nichting each had two hits for the 49ers.
The series concludes at 1 p.m. on Sunday as the Bulldogs will honor the seven seniors on this year's team prior to the start of the game.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.