LA Tech Prepares for Pair of Midweek Contests
March 5, 2018
RUSTON, La. – Coming off a successful 2-1 weekend at the Frisco Classic over the weekend, the Louisiana Tech baseball team will face a quick turnaround with midweek games against in-state opponents Grambling State and UL-Monroe on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Tech (7-5) will kick off the week from the friendly confines of J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in a 6 p.m. contest against the visiting Grambling State Tigers (6-6). The Bulldogs won the last meeting between the two in 2017, 15-1.
Then on Wednesday, Tech will hit the road for ULM (9-2) in another 6 p.m. start. Tech has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two programs, including a 12-3 victory in 2017.
This year, Grambling took a game from fellow Conference USA member FIU in Boca Raton, and most recently took two of three from Prairie View A&M. The Tigers are paced offensively by Rafael Ramirez III, who has recorded 10 hits in 23 at-bats this season. He sets the table for cleanup man Richard Ortiz who leads the team in hits (16), runs (11), home runs (5), RBI (16) and total bases (31). The Tigers have scored 76 runs as a team in 2018, on the strength of a .279 team batting average.
On the mound, Grambling has posted a 5.63 team ERA and is allowing an opponent’s batting average of .273.
Meanwhile, UL-Monroe has won three games in a row and seven of its last eight. The 9-2 start for the Warhawks is their best since they opened the 2000 season with a 10-1 mark. The team is off to a torrid pace offensively, averaging just under nine runs per game. Peyton LaCoste leads the team, and ranks seventh among NCAA leaders with 20 RBI already this season.
Likewise, to Grambling, ULM’s pitching staff has also recorded a team ERA in the mid fives (5.55). The Warhawks are allowing an opposing batting average of .295 and have given up 29 extra-base hits.
On the flip side, the Tech pitching continued its strong start to 2018 on the arms of its starting rotation. Tech’s five starters (Matt Miller, Logan Robbins, Logan Bailey, Tyler Follis and David Leal) have combined for a 1.05 ERA across 68.2 innings pitched as starters. The five have struck out 70 batters while giving up just eight earned runs during that time. Most impressively, the starting group has given up just 15 free passes (12 walks, 3 HBP) and only six extra-base hits (5 doubles, 0 triples, 1 HR).
Even with the recent struggles from the bullpen, Tech’s team ERA sits at 2.41, the second-best mark in Conference USA and the 21st-best mark nationally.
While in Frisco, the Tech bats heated up, behind patient approaches and some power from the big bats in the middle of the order, specifically third baseman Tanner Huddleston.
Huddleston enjoyed Frisco Classic Most Valuable Player honors, as Tech earned a pair of Power 5 victories over No. 9 Texas A&M and California. Entering the weekend, Huddleston was hitting just .176 with just six total base three RBI, and a team-high 13 strikeouts. However, in three games in as many days, Huddleston exploded for a .417 average (5-for-12), while leading all players in the tournament with seven RBI and 11 total bases.
The Lucedale, Mississippi, native capped off a big sixth inning for the Tech offense against A&M, with a 3-run tape-measure blast that cleared the Dr. Pepper Ballpark left-center wall (364) by a good 40-50 feet, putting Tech up 4-0 over the previously undefeated Aggies. Then, against Cal, Huddleston broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the sixth with his second three-run bomb in as many days, again over the left-field fence. He ended the weekend with Tech’s only RBI, in its loss to Baylor, his seventh in just three games. Huddleston now owns the team lead with 10 RBI, and raised his average 64 points in just a three-game span.
Both contests can be heard on SportsTalk 97.7 with Mark Cramer on the call. Tuesday’s game can be streamed with a subscription to CUSA.tv. Be sure to follow @LATechBSB on Twitter for in-game updates and breaking news regarding the team.
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