Feb. 20, 2014
RUSTON, La. - The Louisiana Tech Diamond 'Dogs will play their first Conference USA game beginning at 6 p.m. Friday as in-state foe Tulane travels up the state of Louisiana for a three-game series in what will be an early dose of league play for Bulldog fans.
Friday's and Sunday's games can be heard live on the LA Tech Sports Network with KNBB 97.7 FM carrying the games as Patrick Walsh broadcasts the action from J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. Walsh will also broadcast Saturday's game on LA Tech All-Access (FREE content).
LA Tech comes into this weekend 1-2 on the season after losing the opening two games of the season at home to Southeastern Louisiana, before salvaging the series Sunday with a 2-1 extra-inning win over the Lions.
After posting a 30-28 record last season, Tulane opened up the 2014 campaign with a successful four-game sweep of Arkansas-Pine Bluff at home. The Green Wave are under the direction of veteran head coach Rick Jones, who is in his 21st season at the helm of the Tulane baseball program.
"Tulane has been a very good baseball program for many years now and they come in with a fairly young team, but they do have a couple veteran pitchers," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "They are going to be well coached. We are going to send Phil Maton out Friday night and I have no doubt he will have a better outing than he did last week. He will be ready to go and we want to start Conference USA play off right with a win Friday."
This weekend will be the first meeting between the two teams since the 1988 season when the Green Wave knocked off the Bulldogs, 6-4, in New Orleans. LA Tech won an earlier contest that season, 9-4, in Ruston.
The series versus the Green Wave kicks off with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. The Bulldogs will then take on Tulane at 3 p.m. Saturday before closing out the series with a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday.
LA Tech will meet up with Tulane for just the 11th time in the history of both teams Friday night to open Conference USA play. This will mark the first meeting between the two schools in Wade Simoneaux's 12 years as head coach, as the last time these teams met dates back to the 1988 season when the Bulldogs split a home-and-home series with the Green Wave. Tulane currently holds a 7-3 advantage over LA Tech in the series.
AT THE PLATE
After pacing the offense a year ago, senior Tyler Ervine continues to lead the Bulldogs at the plate. Ervine comes into this weekend hitting .500 after one series. The senior first baseman was 5-for-10 last weekend with two RBI and four walks. A total of eight Bulldog hitters are batting above .300 after the opening weekend, including freshman B.J. Findley, who is hitting .500 on the season after a 3-for-6 effort with two runs and a double in games 2 and 3 last weekend.
Tulane is led by senior infielder Nick DiMaggio, who is hitting .455 with three doubles, two walks and five RBI after a four-game series sweep over UAPB on opening weekend. As a team, the Green Wave is .276 in four games with nine doubles and 32 runs scored.
ON THE MOUND
Junior RHP Phil Maton returns as the Friday night starter for the Bulldogs. In his first outing of the season, the right hander tossed 6.0 innings, allowing two runs - one earned - off four hits, while striking out three. Look for seniors Luke Giddens (LHP) and Richie Navari (RHP) to get the start Saturday and Sunday for the Bulldogs.
Tulane will counter with three right handers in freshman J.P. France, junior Randy LeBlanc and sophomore Alex Massey. France leads Tulane in strikeouts with nine. The pitching staff as a whole posted an impressive 1.32 ERA in last week's four-game sweep of UAPB.
WITH THE CALL
This weekend's series versus the Green Wave can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM with Patrick Walsh calling all the action for Friday and Sunday's contests. All three games against Tulane can be seen and heard on LA Tech All-Access. Fans can also follow all the action with live stats by accessing the link on the schedule page on LATechSports.com.
In addition to Free Hot Dog Friday, the opening game of the series between the Bulldogs and Tulane will also mark Faculty & Staff Appreciation Day at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. All Louisiana Tech faculty and staff members are invited out to Friday night's contest FREE of charge.
Kids' Club Sunday will feature a post-game autograph session where all kids in attendance will have the opportunity to go on the field and get autographs from their favorite Bulldog players.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.