Bulldogs Utilize Seven-Run Seventh to Take Down No. 9 Southern Miss

May 11, 2018

Box Score

HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team found itself on the wrong end of a 4-1 deficit heading into the seventh inning, but scored seven in the top of the frame, en route to an eventual 10-6 triumph over No. 9 Southern Miss on Friday evening in front of 4,580 from Pete Taylor Park.

“I’m just so proud of our guys tonight,” head coach Lane Burroughs noted, “I felt like they were locked in at practice last night, and they put it all out on the line tonight. I’m as proud of them as I’ve been this season. To come into an environment like this, facing one of the top pitchers in the country – and to get the win, was huge. I thought we grinded him (Nick Sandlin) down, and even though we didn’t have a whole lot of success, we made him throw pitches and frustrated him. Just so proud of our guys for hanging in there and staying the course. They’re not accustomed to losing on Friday nights when he’s pitching. Big win for us, but we know winning the series tomorrow is most important.”

LA Tech (34-17, 17-8 C-USA) broke a streak of six-consecutive defeats to the Golden Eagles (35-13, 19-5 C-USA) dating back to 2016, while handing them just their second Friday night defeat all season.

Southern Miss starter Nick Sandlin began the game as advertised, striking out eight Tech hitters through his first six innings of work. However, the patient plate approaches from the Tech bats began to take their course, in the top half of the seventh inning.

Sandlin began the frame with a strikeout of Chris Clayton, but then an error by second baseman Matthew Guidry on a routine ground ball from Hunter Wells, sparked life into the Tech offense, trailing 4-1. After the error, Mason Mallard was hit by a pitch, and then Dalton Skelton loaded the bases via a walk.


 

 

With the bases loaded and Sandlin north of 100 pitches, the Golden Eagles went to the pen in right-hander Mason Strickland. Tech freshman Steele Netterville strolled to the plate and lined the very first pitch from the new reliever for a bases-clearing double down the line in left, knotting the game at four.

Two batters later and with all the momentum on the side of the Bulldogs, fellow freshman Taylor Young lined a double of his own into right. The ball was mishandled by the right fielder Irby, allowing Young to take third, and bringing home Huddleston behind Netterville.

Now owning a 6-4 lead, in front of a nearly silent Pete Taylor Park, Mason Robinson cranked a two-run blast deep into left field, increasing Tech’s lead to 8-4.

When all was said and done, the Bulldogs batted around in the seventh, and scored seven runs on just three hits.

The Golden Eagles responded in the bottom half with a pair of runs off new Tech reliever Kyle Griffen, but the ‘Dogs had a response as Parker Bates got in on the fun, lining a two-run single into right in the top of the eighth – extending Tech’s lead back out to four at 10-6.

Griffen pitched the final 2.2 innings of the game, allowing the two runs in the seventh, but most impressively, struck out Southern Miss’ 3-4-5 hitters in Luke Reynolds, Matt Wallner and Hunter Slater in the bottom of the ninth, capping off the win for the Bulldogs.

Senior reliever Graham Ahlrich (2-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Matt Miller. Ahlrich entered facing a 4-1 deficit, and allowed just one hit and struck out one, while keeping the Bulldogs within striking distance.

Miller went 4.0 innings, allowing four runs on six hits. The Aurora, Illinois, native was tagged for a three-run home run from LeeMarcus Boyd in the fourth, but struck out five in his four innings.

The Bulldogs turned three double plays on the evening, while capitalizing on five Golden Eagle errors. Tech walked six times as a team, and drew three more HBPs.

The four runs allowed by Sandlin were the most the right-hander has given up all season. His streak of consecutive scoreless innings also came to an end at 37.2 in the sixth inning, on a bases-loaded walk from Young for Tech’s first run of the game.

Netterville paced the Tech offense with a 2-for-3 effort at the plate, while driving in three and scoring three. Young added a pair of hits and RBI, while Robinson and Bates both notched multi-RBI games.

The two teams will square off in game two of the weekend set tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. Left-hander Logan Robbins is set to pitch for the Bulldogs, while the Golden Eagles will counter with righty Walker Powell.

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