April 17, 2014
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - With Louisiana Tech still in the hunt for its first series victory of the 2014 season, the Bulldogs face a tall task this weekend when they travel to take on Conference USA foe Southern Miss in a three-game series beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday at Pete Taylor Park in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Southern Miss (21-17, 10-5 C-USA) has won all five of its conference series played this season, as the Golden Eagles enter the weekend tied for second with UAB and UTSA in the most recent C-USA standings.
LA Tech (10-24, 4-14 C-USA) is coming off heartbreaking midweek loss to UALR in a game the Bulldogs led 6-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth, before allowing the Trojans to score seven unanswered runs to win by a score of 7-6 in Little Rock. Last weekend, the Bulldogs dropped the first two games to FIU, before salvaging the series with a win on Sunday in Ruston.
The series kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday with Saturday's contest set for a 4 p.m. first pitch. The weekend series versus Southern Miss concludes with a 1 p.m. game on Sunday in Hattiesburg.
A LOOK AT THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Southern Miss is coming off a 13-5 midweek loss against LSU, but the Golden Eagles took two of three games last weekend from UAB in Birmingham to gain ground in the league standings. In 16 home games Southern Miss has played this season, the Golden Eagles enter this weekend's series against LA Tech with a 9-7 record at home.
Although the two teams have met just 27 times in history, Louisiana Tech's all-time series against Southern Miss is as even as it gets with a record of 13-13-1 in the 27 meetings. The last time the Bulldogs took on Southern Miss dates back to the 2010 season when Tech split two games with the Golden Eagles in Ruston, winning the first, 4-3, and losing the second, 15-7. This will be the first meeting between the two teams as members of Conference USA.
At the plate
Through 34 games, sophomore shortstop Taylor Love continues to pace the Bulldogs at the dish with a .333 batting average this season, which ranks fourth among all C-USA hitters. Love leads the team in hits (42), doubles (9), runs (20) and on base percentage (.387). Tyler Ervine (.297 BA)leads the team with 17 RBI and is tied for the team lead with three home runs with Bre'shon Kimbell. As a team, LA Tech is hitting .252 this season with 42 doubles, a triple and 14 home runs.
Southern Miss comes into the series with a .242 team batting average with 60 doubles, three triples and 17 home runs. The Golden Eagles are led by Tim Lynch, who enters the series with a .304 average, eight doubles, one home run and 24 runs batted in. USM's leading home run hitter is Matt Durst (.290 BA), who has four home runs and 24 RBI.
On the mound
LA Tech will stick with Austin Greer as the Friday night starter, but Richie Navari will move up a day in the rotation to pitch Saturday, while Braden Bristo slides into the weekend rotation as the Sunday starter when the Bulldogs travel to face Southern Miss. Last weekend, Greer (0-0, 2.60 ERA) was named the Friday starter, while Navari (4-3, 1.95 ERA) has primarily been the Sunday starter up until now. Bristo (1-0, 2.11 ERA) is coming off a successful first career start this past week against UALR where he gave up just one hit and no runs in 5.0 innings on the mound. He received a no decision in that start.
Southern Miss is set to start right-handers Conor Fisk (Friday) and Christian Talley (Saturday) in the first two games of the series, while Sunday's starter has yet to be named. Talley is 2-2 on the year with a 2.47 ERA, while Fisk holds a 3-1 record with a 2.74 ERA.
WITH THE CALL
Dave Nitz will call all the action from this weekend's three-game Conference USA road series at Southern Miss. All three games will be broadcast on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM with a 15-minute pregame and postgame show featuring head coach Wade Simoneaux. Subscribers can also access audio from each game on LA Tech All-Access on LATechSports.com. Live stats will be available via GameTracker and can be accessed through the link on the baseball schedule page on LATechSports.com.
Following this four-game road stretch, Louisiana Tech returns home as the Bulldogs step out of Conference USA play to host SWAC opponent Alabama A&M. The three-game series begins at 6 p.m., on Friday, April 25 at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston. Games 2 and 3 of that weekend series will be at 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.