April 25, 2013
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech (14-28, 2-13 WAC) will return to the road as the Bulldogs travel to face the Hornets of Sacramento State (24-17, 8-7 WAC) in Western Athletic Conference action beginning at 5 p.m. CT Friday at John Smith Field in Sacramento, Calif.
Both teams are coming off midweek victories with the Bulldogs defeating Grambling State, 17-9, and Sacramento State with a pair of wins over St. Mary's and San Francisco. In conference play, the Hornets dropped two of three to UTSA on the road last weekend as Tech is coming off a series sweep at the hands of New Mexico State at home.
"Sacramento State really came on the scene last year and they got a lot people back, so it is going to be a real challenge for our guys and at this point we have nothing to lose," head coach Wade Simoneaux. "There is nothing like going and knocking some people off the top, and that is what we have to do. We have to manufacture some runs and generate some offense and keep on working."
The series versus the Hornets continues at 3 p.m. CT Saturday with the third and final game of the weekend set to begin at 2 p.m. CT Sunday at John Smith Field in Sacramento.
The game Tuesday will mark the 29th meeting between the Bulldogs and WAC foe Sacramento State on the baseball diamond, as the two schools will meet for the final time as conference opponents this weekend. Tech has won eight of the last 11 meetings against the Hornets and five of the last eight have been on the road. Most recently, Sacramento State took two of three from the Bulldogs in Ruston in 2012.
Last 5 Meetings (Tech leads 16-12 all-time)
2012 - Sacramento State 11, LA Tech 6 (Ruston, La.)
2012 - Sacramento State 2, LA Tech 1 (Ruston, La.)
2012 - LA Tech 7, Sacramento State 5 (Ruston, La.)
2011 - LA Tech 2, Sacramento State 1 (Sacramento, Calif.)
AT THE PLATE
The Bulldogs are hitting .268 in WAC play with 21 doubles and 10 home runs with junior first baseman Tyler Ervine leading the way with a .300 average on the year. Ervine leads the team in runs scored (19), hits (42), walks (16) and total bases (54). Junior Sam Alvis is leading the club with four home runs on the year and a .478 slugging percentage.
As a team, Sacramento State has a combined batting average of .280, which ranks them 7th in the WAC, with 68 doubles, 10 triples and 18 home runs on the season. The Hornets are led at the plate by redshirt freshman Chris Lewis, who is batting .347 with a team-leading 52 hits, 33 runs batted in and 10 dou¬bles in 2013. Lewis is slugging .467 with two home runs this season and leads Sacramento State with a .395 on base percentage. Junior outfielder Justin Hig¬ley, who is batting .299, leads the club in long balls with seven home runs.
ON THE MOUND
Tech will stick with the same pitching rotation for the first time in a few weeks with senior left hander James Ferguson getting things started versus the Hornets Friday afternoon. Ferguson (1-1) was charged with the loss in his last outing against New Mexico State after allowing four runs off seven hits in 5.1 innings of work. The Austin, Texas native has a 5.17 earned run average this season and is third on the team in strikeouts with 26 this season.
Phil Maton will get the start Saturday with a 5-4 record on the year and a 2.69 ERA. The sophomore leads the conference in strikeouts with 67 in 67.0 innings pitching in 2013. Opposing hitters are batting .210 against the right hander.
Senior Trevor Petersen will wrap things up on the mound Sunday after allowing three runs - two earned - off seven hits in 6.1 innings of work in his last outing against the Aggies. The right hander is 2-3 on the season with an ERA of 3.79.
The Hornet pitching staff has an overall earned run average of 3.71, the second best in the conference behind CSU Bakersfield. Sacramento State will send RHP Ty Nichols to the mound to begin the series Friday night and follow up with RHP Brennan Leitao and RHP Tanner Mendonca Saturday and Sunday respectively.
WITH THE CALL
The games versus the Hornets can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz calling all the action from the West Coast.
Following the series against the Hornets, the Bulldogs will return home to host WAC newcomer CSU Bakersfield in conference action beginning 6 p.m. Friday, May 3 at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston. That three-game series can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on ESPN 97.7 FM with Dave Nitz calling all the action. Each game can also be seen and heard on LA Tech All-Access. Live stats will also be available for that series by accessing the link on the schedule page on www.LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech athletics at www.LATechSports.com.