May 5, 2011
RUSTON, La. - With wins in six of their last seven home games, Louisiana Tech (25-22, 7-9 WAC) wraps up their conference home schedule this weekend with a four-game set against 19th-ranked Fresno State beginning Friday night at 6 p.m. at J.C. Love Field.
Facing their third ranked opponent of the season, the Tech offense will face a stiff challenge against one of the nation's most dominant pitching staffs as Fresno State has posted a microscopic 2.40 ERA to rank ninth in the country. However, inside the friendly confines of J.C. Love Field, the Bulldogs are hitting .315 as a team with Kyle Roliard leading the charge with a .396 average with a team-high 40 hits at home.
Additionally, Tech pitchers have posted a 3.26 ERA at home allowing opponents to hit .243 while giving up just five home runs. Tech's primary weekend rotation has posted ERA's lower than 3.25 at home while Tech closer Caleb Dudley has posted a perfect 4-0 record with five saves in 13 appearances at home.
Dave Nitz will provide play-by-play commentary for all four games this weekend. Fans can listen within the greater Ruston area on ESPN 97.7 while game three of the series will be aired on KRUS 1490. Fans can also log on and listen via LA Tech All-Access.
Louisiana Tech concludes their 11-game homestand and will host Mississippi Valley State in a doubleheader on May 11 to wrap up the 2011 home slate. The two-game affair on Wednesday will also mark Senior night in which all six Bulldog seniors will be honored in between games.
Friday will mark the 49th meeting in the Battle of the Bone series.
Tech is 16-3 at home against Fresno State during the Simoneaux era.
Tech has posted a 19-6 record this season at J.C. Love Field.
Tech has won 25 of their last 31 games at J.C. Love Field.
Tech is seeking their first win over a ranked team since March 4, 2008 (No. 11 Baylor).
The five shutouts from Tech this season are the most since Tech had six in 1990.
The shutout against Hawai'i was also the first time Tech had shutout an opponent on the road since March 11, 2005 when Tech knocked off Nicholls State, 1-0.
Tech is 16-1 this season when leading after eight innings.
Tech is 161-7 since the 2004 season when leading after eight innings.
Tech has featured 36 different starting lineups in 47 games this season.
Tech is 2-1 this season in extra innings games.
Tech has picked off 11 runners to lead the WAC.
Tech is hitting .315 at home while hitting .232 on the road.
Kyle Roliard has hit safely in 10-straight games as the leadoff hitter (17-for-36, .472).
Ryan Gebhardt has hit safely in 11-straight home games (15-for-31, .484).
Will Alvis ranks second in the WAC with seven home runs.
The eight home runs allowed by the Bulldogs' pitching staff are the fewest in the WAC.
Mark Threlkeld ranks second in the WAC with 15 doubles.
Clint Ewing has been hit by eight pitches this year, ranking third in the WAC.
Caleb Dudley leads the WAC with 24 appearances on the mound.
Mike Jefferson leads the WAC with eight pickoffs on the season.
Jefferson is the only pitcher in the WAC (1.0 IP/ per game) that hasn't allowed a home run.
SCOUTING THE OTHER BULLDOGS
Fresno State (30-9, 10-5 WAC) enters the weekend as the 19th-ranked team in the Baseball America polls, as announced on Monday. Tech will be seeking their first win over a top 25 program since the Bulldogs knocked off 11th-ranked Baylor on March 4, 2008. After dropping the first two games in their four-game set against Hawai'i last weekend, FS salvaged a series split after dropping the `Bows in the final two games.
FS is hitting .283 as a club this season to rank second in the league while their staff ERA ranks ninth in the country checking in at 2.40. Defensively, the Bulldogs rank second in the WAC with a .976 fielding percentage with a league-low 36 errors.
Offensively, senior Danny Muno leads the club with a .345 batting average as he has totaled 50 hits and a team-high 37 RBI. Dusty Robinson leads the league with 11 home runs and is hitting .292 on the season with 28 RBI. Austin Wynns and Aaron Judge provide two more quality bats in the lineup with .320-plus averages and a combined 83 hits and 35 RBI.
Greg Gonzalez anchors a phenomenal pitching staff with a microscopic 1.22 ERA with 88 strikeouts to just 18 walks on the season. The rest of the weekend rotation features three southpaws that each has 30-plus strikeouts with ERA's below 3.75. Charlie Robertson leads the league with 11 saves to hold down the back of the bullpen, however, he has been charged with five of Fresno's nine losses this season.
DUDLEY DOES IT AGAIN
Louisiana Tech sophomore Caleb Dudley has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday afternoon. The award is the second such citation for Dudley this season. Additionally, Dudley was one of five pitchers named national player of the week by CollegeBaseballInsider.com on Wednesday.
Dudley, a sophomore from Texarkana, Texas (Texas HS), held his opponents to a .158 batting average while picking up two saves and a win in relief to clinch Louisiana Tech's first series win against Nevada since 2006. In 5.0 innings of work, Dudley gave up only three hits and didn't allow a single run.