Baseball to Host WAC Foe New Mexico State
April 18, 2013
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech (13-24, 2-10 WAC) will return home for the first time in three weeks as the Bulldogs host conference foe New Mexico State (19-18, 5-7 WAC) in a four-game series beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston.
The Bulldogs are coming off a midweek victory over in-state rival Northwestern State in a win that snapped a five-game losing streak for Tech. Last weekend, Texas State completed a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs, while New Mexico State lost two of three to Sacramento State at home.
"New Mexico State has that prolific offense, and we have to be ready for that," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "Their Friday night guy is very good, and they are always a tough opponent, so we have to be ready for them."
The series resumes at 3 p.m. Saturday and a double header starting at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The first three games of the series will count as conference games with the second game Sunday being a seven inning non-conference matchup.
The Bulldogs will welcome a familiar conference foe to Ruston Friday as the Aggies will meet Tech for the final time in the regular season as WAC oppo¬nents. New Mexico State holds a 20-13 advantage in head-to-head matchups, but most recently, the Bulldogs got the best of the Aggies as Tech defeated New Mexico State last season in the conference tournament by a score of 15-12 in Mesa, Ariz. The Aggies have won three of the last five meetings.
ON THE MOUND
Tech will mix up the weekend rotation for the third week in a row as senior left hander James Ferguson will receive the start Friday against the Aggies. Ferguson (1-0) started his first game of the season last Saturday versus Texas State and pitched five innings, while giving up three runs off six hits and striking out three. In 26 innings of work, the senior has a 4.85 earned run average and has struck out 20 in 2013.
Sophomore Phil Maton will start for the 'Dogs Saturday for his tenth start of the campaign. Maton (5-3) leads the WAC in strikeouts with 59 and comes into the weekend with a 2.09 ERA, ranking him third in the conference.
Right hander Trevor Petersen will receive the start Sunday as the senior comes into the weekend with a 2-2 record and a 3.91 ERA. Petersen has started nine games for Tech this season and struck out 18 batters in 48.1 innings of work.
New Mexico State will send senior right hander Adam Mott to start things off versus the Bulldogs Friday night. Mott (4-3) has an ERA of 4.52 in nine starts this season. Mott is second in the WAC in strikeouts with 57 and trails Phil Maton, who has a conference-leading 59 strikeouts in 2013. The Aggies will follow up with RHP Casey Collins and LHP Ryan Beck on Saturday and Sunday.
Both teams are undecided on probable starters for the fourth and final game of the weekend.
AT THE PLATE
The Bulldogs are hitting .247 as a team with junior shortstop Ryan Gebhardt leading the way with a .289 average in 36 games played in 2013. The Monroe native leads the team in hits (41), doubles (9-T1), runs scored (20) and total bases (52). Gebhardt is ranked 31st in the country as one of the toughest batters to strikeout.
As a team, New Mexico State is fourth in the WAC with a team batting aver¬age of .289 with 65 doubles, six triples and 38 home runs on the season. The Aggies are led at the plate by junior infielder Tanner Rust, who is second in the WAC with a batting average of .386 10 doubles, seven HR and 33 RBI and a .482 on base percentage. Rust leads the team in batting average (.386), hits (54), runs scored (40) and on base percentage (.482).
WITH THE CALL
The games versus the Aggies can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz calling all the action from the first three games. The first three games and the final game on Sunday can be seen and heard on LA Tech All-Access. Fans can also follow all the action with live stats by accessing the link on the schedule page on www.LATechSports.com.
Friday's contest will mark the return of Free Hot Dog Friday with fans receiving free hot dogs upon entry courtesy of Super 1 Foods in Ruston while supplies last. Saturday is Youth Baseball Day as boys and girls 12 and under in baseball/softball uniforms will get into the stadium free of charge. Sunday will mark Kid's Club Sunday with a bounce house available for kids inside the stadium, while donations for the Red Cross will also be taken Sunday to benefit the victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy. In the second game of Sunday's double header, both teams will wear Boston Red Sox replica hats in honor of the tragic events earlier this week.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech athletics at www.LATechSports.com.
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