May 11, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech wrapped up its 2014 home schedule with a 7-3 loss to Charlotte, as the visiting 49ers completed a three-game series sweep of the Bulldogs on Senior Day at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
With a 4-2 lead after eight innings, Charlotte's (17-29-1, 8-17 C-USA) Logan Sherer helped increase the 49ers lead over LA Tech (15-32, 5-22 C-USA) with a three-run home run in the ninth to seal the series sweep. The Bulldogs struggled to score runs for the first seven innings of today's game, as the team stranded 13 base runners in the loss.
"Our inability to score runs has been the story all season," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "It puts pressure on our pitchers and defense, and it has been our Achilles heel all year. We have pitched well enough to win many games, but it's hard when you can't score runs. I know I continue to say this, but our guys did not quit. They will not quit on us. I think I got every ounce of what I could get from the guys we have, but it just was not enough today."
Senior Richie Navari (5-6) was charged with the loss for LA Tech, despite pitching well for 6.1 innings on the mound. Navari gave up three runs - two earned - on six hits and struck out four in the outing, before senior left-hander Luke Giddens came on in relief in the seventh. Giddens gave up one unearned run on two hits, while striking out one Charlotte batter in 1.1 innings. Adam Derouen came on to pitch in the eighth for the Bulldogs, and closed out the game by allowing three runs on four hits, including a three-run homer by Sherer in the ninth.
Starter Brock Hudgens (3-5) earned the win on the mound for Charlotte after surrendering just one run on seven hits and striking out five Bulldogs on the day. Once Hudgens day was done in the eighth, the 49ers sent four pitchers to the mound over the course of the final two innings, with Hunter May (5) picking up his second save of the weekend after getting out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth.
After both teams were held scoreless through three innings, Charlotte struck first in the fourth after Sherer singled up the middle with two outs in the frame. The 49ers' designated hitter advanced to both second and third on wild pitches, before scoring on a fielding error by Thomas Simoneaux to make it 1-0.
Charlotte once again rallied with two outs in the sixth after Des Roberts singled to center field to give the 49ers a runner on base. Mikal Hill followed up with an RBI double to right field to make it 2-0, before catcher Brett Lang came through with an RBI single to give Charlotte a 3-0 lead after six innings.
The 49ers tacked on another run in the eighth, once again with two outs, as Roberts singled and later scored on a throwing error by Taylor Love to make it 4-0 in favor of Charlotte.
LA Tech answered back with two runs of its own in the bottom half of the eighth after the Bulldogs scored their first run of the game on a bases-loaded RBI ground out by Thomas Simoneaux. Later in the inning, Tech added a second run on a sacrifice fly to left field by Stephen Gandy to cut Charlotte's lead to 4-2.
The 49ers plated three runs with two outs in the top of the ninth on the homer by Sherer, which proved to be important in the bottom half of the inning.
With a 7-2 lead over LA Tech and three outs left to play, Charlotte walked Colby Johnson and gave up a double to left field by Ryan Jones to give the Bulldogs two on and no outs. A ground ball by Taylor Love brought up Tyler Ervine, who hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Tech's third run of the game and make it a 7-3 lead for Charlotte. Tyler Qualls then singled, followed by Kimbell who was hit by a pitch to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. Pinch hitter Jacob Derouen came in, but the Bulldogs' rally fell short with a ground ball back to the pitcher to end the game.
The Bulldogs stranded runners in all but the third and seventh innings, with a total of 13 runners stranded on the day. Both Thomas Simoneaux and senior Stephen Gandy had two hits apiece and an RBI for LA Tech, while Ervine also recorded a hit and an RBI in the series finale. Johnson, Jones, Qualls and Bre'shon Kimbell each tallied one hit for a total of nine base knocks for the Bulldogs.
Sherer led the 49ers at the plate with a 2-for-5 performance with a home run, three RBI and two runs, while T.J. Nichting, Roberts and Lang each had two hits for Charlotte as well for a total of 12 hits for the visitors.
Today's game wrapped up Louisiana Tech's home schedule, but the Bulldogs will return to the diamond on Thursday as Tech travels to Houston to take on Rice in the season-ending series.
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