April 1, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech will kick off a seven-game home stretch as the Bulldogs welcome in-state rival Northwestern State to Ruston in a midweek non-conference contest beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson.
Last season, the Bulldogs swept the season series with two midweek victories over Northwestern State, while LA Tech has also won four straight meetings over the Demons coming into Wednesday night's game. The game will mark the 148th meeting all-time between the two programs.
"Northwestern State just beat a good Sam Houston team on the road this week and they are in the top three or four in the Southland Conference right now," head coach Wade Simoneaux. "Playing a team about an hour and a half down the road, this is definitely a game we want to win. We are going to go after them with four or five different arms to make sure we are ready for UAB this weekend."
LA Tech will be looking to rebound from a three-game series sweep last weekend at UTSA, as the Bulldogs enter Wednesday's game with an overall record of 9-17 and a 3-9 mark in Conference USA. Northwestern State is 14-12 with a 6-3 record in the Southland.
Wednesday's game will be the first of two games the Bulldogs and Demons will play this season, as LA Tech will travel to Natchitoches for a return trip at 6:30 p.m. April 29 at Brown-Stroud Field.
A LOOK AT THE DEMONS
The Northwestern State Demons travel to Ruston fresh off a 2-1 series victory over Southland foe Sam Houston State on the road, and enter Wednesday's game with a 14-12 overall record with a 6-3 mark in league play. The Demons are set to battle another in-state opponent this Tuesday night as they host Grambling State before traveling to Ruston tomorrow night.
Louisiana Tech will battle the Demons of Northwestern State in one of the oldest in-state rivalries for the Bulldogs on the diamond. The Bulldogs have won four straight contests over Northwestern State, including two victories last season, a 3-1 win in Natchitoches and a 7-2 victory in Ruston late in 2013. In 147 total meetings between the two teams, LA Tech leads the all-time series over the Demons with an 87-60 record.
At the plate
Shortstop Taylor Love continues to lead the Bulldogs at the dish with a .340 batting average this season, which ranks fifth among all C-USA hitters. Love leads the team in hits (33), doubles (6), runs (16) and on base percentage (.389), and enters this weekend on an eight-game hitting streak and a 24-game reached base streak, which dates back to Feb. 15 versus Southeastern. Tyler Ervine leads the team with 15 RBI and is tied for the team lead with three home runs, while Steven Blanchard is batting .538 with two doubles and three RBI in his last six games as a pinch hitter and designated hitter for the Bulldogs. As a team, LA Tech is hitting .254 this season with 31 doubles, a triple and 12 home runs.
Northwestern State comes into the series with a .262 team batting average with 38 doubles, three triples and two home runs. The Demons are led by Chase Daughdrill, who enters the game with a .319 average with six doubles and a team-high 22 runs batted in.
On the mound
Junior right-hander Austin Greer will receive fourth start of the campaign Wednesday against the Demons. Greer comes into the matchup with a 0-0 record on the season in five appearances and has posted a 3.27 earned run average thus far. He has 10 strikeouts in 2014, which is tied with Laetten Galbraith for third most on the Bulldogs' staff.
The Northwestern State pitching staff comes into the midweek matchup with a 4.52 team ERA in 26 games. Opponents are hitting .278 against the Demons with 45 doubles, three triples and 11 home runs.
The midweek game is set to begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday night, as all fans and students are invited to experience Greek Night, Fan Appreciation Night and SAAC Night at The Love Shack. Multiple giveaways will be given to those in attendance throughout the game, including several pieces of signed LA Tech Baseball memorabilia.
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