LA Tech Faces Midweek Test in Little Rock
March 12, 2018
RUSTON, La. – After wrapping up a perfect 5-0 week, the Louisiana Tech baseball team will take its momentum on the road to take on Little Rock, for a 4 p.m. first pitch set for Tuesday afternoon.
The Diamond ‘Dogs (12-5) just finished up their first weekend sweep of the season, a three-game home affair with Houston Baptist, in which Tech outscored the Huskies 17-7, receiving complete efforts form both the offense and the pitching staff throughout the weekend.
Leading the offensive charge was centerfielder Parker Bates. The sophomore led all Tech hitters with 10 hits and a .556 batting average across five games. Bates also notched four extra base hits (three doubles, one triple) along with six RBI en route to a .833 slugging percentage. He was a perfect 2-for-2 in stolen bases and posted a team-best .609 on-base percentage throughout the week. Bates struck out only once across the five games and scored four runs.
The centerfielder was perfect patrolling the Tech outfield, making a couple circus catches including a diving catch in the top of the eighth in Friday’s game against HBU, saving two runs that would’ve tied the game at five. After the impressive five-game stretch, Bates now leads the Bulldogs with a .344 average, and a .475 slugging percentage. His seven stolen bases are most on the squad and he still has not made an error in centerfield on 41 putouts.
Meanwhile on the mound, Tech received its second consecutive weekly honor from the league, as Conference USA announced Logan Robbins as the Pitcher of the Week. Robbins dominated in Tech’s 3-1 Saturday win over Houston Baptist. The left-hander tossed the first complete game by any Tech pitcher this season (first since C-USA Pitcher of the Year, Nate Harris did it last season).
Robbins allowed just four hits and one earned run while striking out six, and most impressively, did not allow a free pass to a Husky batter. Robbins allowed a solo home run in the fourth inning, but after that, he mowed down the HBU lineup, allowing just two baserunners across the ensuing five innings, giving the Tech offense ample time and opportunities to take the lead. Robbins improved to 3-0 on the season, while improving his season ERA to 1.46. He has now struck out 18 batters while walking just two in 24.1 innings over his first three starts as a Bulldog. The southpaw has locked down Saturday starting duties on a starting staff that leads all of college baseball with a 0.95 ERA.
Tech’s overall pitching staff has not disappointed this season, as the ‘Dogs entered Monday with a 1.88 team ERA (third-best nationally, and best in C-USA). One of the main successes as a staff has been limiting free passes, as evidenced by its 3.73 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is tied for the eighth best mark in the country.
On the other side of the diamond, Little Rock currently sits at an even .500 mark with an 8-8 record thus far. The Trojans are hitting .277 as a team, and boast five everyday players hitting .300 or better on the squad. Troy Alexander leads the way with 20 RBI and a .391 average.
On the mound, Little Rock is paced by starter Cole Townsend, who has recorded a 1.80 ERA and a 3-0 record in four starts. Justin Garcia has been the relief ace for the Trojans, notching a pair of saves along with a team-high 31 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. Little Rock’s team ERA currently sits at 5.35.
This will be the 81st meeting between the two programs, with Tech owning a 57-23 (.713) edge in the all-time series. The two teams will meet up again on April 4th in Ruston.
Tuesday’s contest can be heard on SportsTalk 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz on the call.
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