Bulldogs Host Northwestern State on Tuesday Evening
Feb. 26, 2018
RUSTON, La. – After taking three of its four home contests last week, the Louisiana Tech baseball team will wrap up its five-game homestand with a Tuesday night matchup against in-state rival Northwestern State at 6 p.m.
This is the first of two meetings between the Bulldogs (5-3) and Demons (4-2) as Tech will make a return trip over to Natchitoches on March 20. This will be the 131st meeting between the two programs, with Tech holding an 80-50 (.615) all-time edge.
Tech second-year head coach Lane Burroughs served as Northwestern State’s skipper from 2014-16 where he compiled 113 wins and led the Demons to three-consecutive 30-win seasons. This will be the first meeting between Burroughs and his former squad, as the two sides did not match up last season.
The Bulldogs are coming off a successful home-opening week, that saw three wins and some positive signs from the offense, paced by catcher Chris Clayton.
The junior college transfer found his stride in the Bulldogs’ first homestand of 2018, hitting 6-for-12 with six RBI and three extra-base hits (1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR) along with reaching base four more times on two walks and two HBPs in Tech’s four home games this past week.
Clayton led the team with a .625 OBP and notched 12 total bases this past week- also the most on the squad. In his first home game in a Tech uniform, Clayton pounded a solo HR, kicking off a five-run fourth inning against McNeese. The backstop now leads the team in batting average (.409), slugging (.682) and OBP (.552).
Not to be outdone, the LA Tech pitching staff continued its dominant start to the 2018 season, as the staff combined to allow just eight runs (seven earned) across Tech’s four home games this past week. Tech’s four starters (David Leal, Matt Miller, Logan Robbins and Logan Bailey) combined for 22.2 innings and allowed just one earned run combined.
As a staff, the Bulldogs continue to make national waves, ranking fifth in the country in team ERA at 1.62. That mark is also tops among all Conference USA teams. One of the main reasons behind the pitching staff’s early success has been its ability to miss bats, while still making quality pitches. Tech also ranks among the top-20 nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio with a mark of 4.05 (81 SO to 20 BB).
LA Tech will send lefty David Leal to the mound for Tuesday night’s contest. The transfer from Wharton County Junior College turned in an outstanding debut performance last weekend against McNeese.
Leal tossed seven innings while allowing just one unearned run in Tech’s 5-1 victory over McNeese. The Cowboys, who entered Tuesday’s game hitting .291 as a team, mustered only three hits off the Tech starter. Leal struck out six and walked none, while holding McNeese to a .125 team average, and its lowest run output of the season (averaged 6.3 runs per game in its first three games of 2018).
Meanwhile, Northwestern State is slated to throw junior right-hander Jerry Maddox. The Dayton, Texas, has made two appearances this season – his first was a one-inning relief showing in NSU’s blowout win over Binghamton. His second was last Tuesday in his first start for the Demons, as he made it through only 2.1 innings, giving up four runs in an 11-6 defeat to UL-Monroe.
The Demons are off to a 4-3 start this season, and are led offensively by Kwan Adkins and Austin Stegall. Adkins is hitting a team-best .478 with four RBI, while Stegall leads the squad in slugging percentage at .571. Kelsey Richard and Tyler Smith have done the bulk of the work driving in runs for the team with six RBI each so far in 2018.
On the mound, Northwestern State holds a team ERA of 3.88. Demon pitchers have walked 36 batters in seven games and have struck out 59.
The game will be streamed live on CUSA.tv (subscription required) and broadcast on SportsTalk 97.7 with Dave Nitz on the call. Audio can also be streamed through the LA Tech X Mobile App. In game updates will be provided by following the Bulldogs on Twitter @LATechBSB.
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