Feb. 14, 2013
RUSTON - The Louisiana Tech Bulldog baseball team is set to jumpstart the 2013 campaign as they travel to UT Arlington to face the Mavericks in a three-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas. Tech will play the final two games of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday to complete the opening weekend of play.
The Bulldogs have battled UT Arlington 92 times on the diamond with the Mavericks holding a slight advantage with a 49-43 record over LA Tech. The last time these two teams met results in a 2-1 series win UT Arlington last season at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park to open the 2012 season.
UT Arlington returns a team that went 36-25 last season and earned a spot in the 2012 NCAA Tournament before falling to Baylor in the Waco Regional last June. The Mavericks return 21 letterwinners and five starters to the 2013 roster.
Although UT Arlington has since made the move to the Western Athletic, this series will not be counted as league games due to being previously scheduled before the two teams became conference opponents.
Tech returns 21 letterwinners to the 2013 roster from a team that posted a 27-28 record last season and the best finish in a WAC Tournament than any other team in school history with three wins and a semifinal appearance. In addition to the returning players, the Bulldogs have added 14 newcomers to the 35-man roster to give added depth to this year's team.
Head coach Wade Simoneaux, now in his 11th year at the helm of the Bulldog baseball program, is entering uncharted territory with his most experienced squad to date.
"We are going to have some veterans on the bench, and that can cause problems when you have experienced guys not in that lineup every day," he said. "But, I think they are sensible enough to know it is going to take all 35 of us to win this thing if we handle this the right way. That is my biggest concern right now; how our non-starters handle things."
Senior right hander Trevor Petersenwill return as a starting pitcher for the 'Dogs this season after posting a 6-4 record in 2012 with an ERA of 7.13 in 53.0 innings pitched and 12 starts on the season. The senior is slated for a Saturday start this weekend at UT Arlington.
As for the third and final contest of the series on Sunday, the Bulldogs will send out junior college transfer Richie Navari, a right hander who came to Tech from Scottsdale Community College. Navari was a member of a Scottsdale Artichoke squad that was named conference champions in 2012. At Scottsdale, Navari's pitching coach was former Bulldog Marcus Clapp. Clapp lettered for Tech in the 2000-01 seasons and is currently fourth in the record books for single-season appearances by a pitcher with 28.
Tech's bullpen will see the return of seniors Jamie Gilley, James Ferguson and Dakota Doss, as well as junior college transfer Omar Ugarte, a right hander out of Pasadena, Texas who came to Tech from Laredo Community College.
Freshman right hander Adam Derouen will also be available late in games for Tech in 2013, as well as Clark Carlisle, the left-handed brother of junior Ben Carlisle. Derouen is also the younger brother of the Bulldogs' sophomore catcher Jacob Derouen.
Tech will welcome the return of senior closer Caleb Dudley, who is coming off a record-breaking season in 2012 where he broke the all-time saves record with his 19th save on April 4, 2012 against Grambling to clinch a 4-1 victory for the Bulldogs. Dudley extended his record to 23 career saves by the end of the 2012 season.
In the field, junior Ryan Gebhardtwill handle the shortstop position after leading the team in batting average (.341), runs scored (44), hits (76) and doubles (14) in 2012. Gebhardt was also named 1st team All-WAC at the conclusion of his sophomore campaign.
Junior college transfer Tyler Ervine will replace Alex Williams, a four-year letterwinner and all-WAC honoree, at first base this season. Ervine hit .327 with a team-leading four homeruns, 16 doubles and 40 runs batted in at Weatherford College in 2012.
In the outfield, Kody Neel, Taylor Burch and Bre'shon Kimbellall return to give the Bulldogs added experience at that position. Burch will move from right field to center this season with Neel and Kimbell in left and right field respectively.
All three games against UT Arlington will be available on Gametracker by accessing the link on the schedule page on LATechSports.com, while Josh McDaniel will provide play-by-play on LA Tech All-Access for subscribers.
Season tickets for the upcoming season are available now and can be purchased by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or logging on to www.LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of LA Tech baseball, follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech athletics at www.LATechSports.com.