March 27, 2014
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Louisiana Tech is in the hunt for its first series victory of the season and will have a tough task this weekend as the Bulldogs travel to San Antonio, Texas to take on UTSA in a three-game Conference USA series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at Roadrunner Field.
A year ago, the Roadrunners made the trip to Ruston and completed a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs to end LA Tech's season when both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference. UTSA enters the weekend with a 16-9 overall record and 3-3 mark in Conference USA.
Louisiana Tech (9-14, 3-6 C-USA) has been on the cusp of winning a weekend series in six attempts, but the Bulldogs have fallen short each time with all three conference victories coming over Tulane, Florida Atlantic and Old Dominion.
"UTSA came to our place last year and really swung the bats well," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "They were one of the most aggressive hitting teams we played all of last season, so this is going to be a challenge for us and we are looking forward to going to their place for the first time. I would love to see our offense break out and have a good weekend out there. We have to be ready to go and play our best ball to come out with some wins."
The series kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday with the second game scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Field. The weekend concludes with a 1 p.m. contest Sunday in San Antonio.
A LOOK AT THE ROADRUNNERS
Most recently, UTSA hosted Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, falling 6-1 at home on Tuesday night in San Antonio. Last weekend, UTSA lost the series at Southern Miss, as the Roadrunners will come into this weekend with a 3-3 mark in C-USA play. UTSA enters the weekend with a 12-6 record at home. UTSA has now lost four of its last five games, including two straight losses.
After playing the Roadrunners last season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech will now battle UTSA as a Conference USA opponent after both teams made the switch to the league after the 2013 season. The Bulldogs hosted UTSA last season and were swept in a three-game series to end the campaign. Prior to 2013, the last time these two teams met dates back to 2001 when the Roadrunners traveled to Ruston and took the series, 2-1, after Tech won the opening contest. UTSA has currently won five straight games over the Bulldogs with a 5-1 record over Louisiana Tech coming into this weekend's league matchup.
At the plate
Sophomore shortstop Taylor Love continues to lead the Bulldogs at the dish with a .333 batting average this season. Love leads the team in hits (28), doubles (5), runs (15) and on base percentage (.389). Love enters this weekend on a 21-game reached base streak dating back to Feb. 15 versus Southeastern. Both Tyler Ervine and Bre'shon Kimbell are tied for the team lead with three home runs apiece, while Stephen Gandy continues his hot streak at the plate with a .311 average in 15 games. As a team, LA Tech is hitting .248 this season with 28 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs.
UTSA comes into the series with a .280 team batting average with 48 doubles, eight triples and 12 home runs. The Roadrunners are led by sophomore Jesse Baker, who enters the series with a .333 average with six doubles, a team-high four home runs and 24 runs batted in.
On the mound
Louisiana Tech will stick with its trio of right-handers this weekend as Phil Maton (2-3, 4.26 ERA) will get the start on the opening game of the series Friday, while Adam Derouen (0-2, 5.21 ERA) and Richie Navari (3-1, 1.80 ERA) will start for Tech on Saturday and Sunday.
The Roadrunner pitching staff comes into the weekend with a 2.78 team ERA in 25 games. Opponents are hitting .270 against UTSA pitchers in 2014. UTSA will start right-hander Brock Hartson, left-hander Nolan Trabanino and right-hander Justin Anderson on the mound in the series.
WITH THE CALL
Dave Nitz returns as the voice of Bulldog Baseball and will call all the action from this weekend's three-game conference road series at UTSA. Each game will be broadcast on KNBB 97.7 FM with a 15-minute pregame and postgame show with head coach Wade Simoneaux. Subscribers can also access the audio from each game on LA Tech All-Access on LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.