May 8, 2014
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech enters its final home stretch of the 2014 season this weekend as the Bulldogs welcome the Charlotte 49ers to Ruston for a three-game Conference USA series beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
LA Tech (15-29, 5-19 C-USA) comes into this weekend's series having won five of its last seven games, including a victory over Marshall last Sunday to salvage the series after losing the first two games. Charlotte travels to Ruston with a 14-29-1 overall record, including a 6-17 mark in Conference USA games.
"We have seven good guys that we will honor this weekend and we want to send those seniors out on a good note," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "I know Charlotte has kind of struggled in their first year in Conference USA, but they have some good arms they will throw at us. At this point, we have to play for some pride and send these seniors out on a positive note. Our seven seniors have put a lot of time and effort into their time here. Those guys bleed red and blue and they love Louisiana Tech."
The series begins with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Friday, while Saturday's game will start at 3 p.m. at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. Sunday's series finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. as the Bulldogs will honor the seven seniors on this year's team prior to the start of the game.
A LOOK AT THE 49ERS
Currently ranked 12th in the Conference USA standings, Charlotte enters this weekend's series on a three-game losing streak after being swept by UAB last weekend at home. Although the 49ers are coming off three straight losses, the last few weeks have produced several victories for Charlotte, including two straight series wins over Tulane and UTSA. Charlotte travels to Ruston with a 5-13 record in road games and a 4-8 mark in C-USA road games.
Louisiana Tech has faced unknown opponents all season long, and this weekend is no different as Charlotte travels to Ruston for the inaugural meeting between the two teams. Charlotte is the fourth league opponent this season Tech will play for the first time in program history. In games against Florida Atlantic, Old Dominion and Marshall, the other three teams that Tech had never faced before this season, the Bulldogs are 3-6 in those contests.
At the plate
With six games left to play, sophomore shortstop Taylor Love continues to be the Bulldogs' leading hitter with a .323 batting average this season. Love leads the team in hits (50), doubles (11), runs (24) and slugging percentage (.432), while Tyler Ervine (.277 BA) leads the team with 24 runs batted in and home runs with five on the season. As a team, LA Tech is hitting .252 in 2014 with 57 doubles, three triples and 19 home runs.
Charlotte enters the series with a .250 team batting average with 62 doubles, eight triples and nine home runs. The 49ers are led by Derek Gallello, who enters the series with a .307 average, five doubles and 14 walks. Charlotte's leading home run hitter (5) is Corbin Shive, while Logan Sherer leads the team with 22 runs batted in.
On the mound
Louisiana Tech will send junior right-hander Austin Greer out to the mound for his fifth straight Friday night start and his ninth overall. Greer (1-0, 2.35 ERA) is second on the Bulldogs' pitching staff in ERA and has already struck out 25 batters in 30.2 innings. Richie Navari has moved into Saturday's starting role with a 5-5 record on the season and a team-leading 2.11 ERA. Navari has started 11 contests and thrown three complete games in 2014. Sunday's starter for the Bulldogs has yet to be decided.
Charlotte's staff enters the series with a team earned run average of 3.93 in 44 games thus far. The 49ers will start right-hander Corey Roberts (2-4, 3.38 ERA) in Friday's contest, while right-hander Ryan Butler (3-7, 3.93 ERA) will start on Saturday. Brock Hudgens (2-5, 3.48 ERA) will start in the series finale on Sunday for Charlotte.
SENIOR SEND-OFF SET FOR SUNDAY
Prior to Sunday's 1 p.m. first pitch, head coach Wade Simoneaux and his assistants will honor seven seniors on this year's team as they play their final home games at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. The following seniors will be honored on the field prior to Sunday's contest versus Charlotte: Taylor Burch, Tyler Ervine, Stephen Gandy, Luke Giddens, Ryan Jones, Richie Navari and Tyler Qualls.
Friday night's game versus the 49ers will mark the return of Free Hot Dog Friday, as the first 100 fans in attendance will receive one free hot dog courtesy of Super 1 Foods in Ruston. The Bulldogs will welcome all kids to the park on Saturday for Youth Sports Day. All kids wearing a youth sports jersey will be admitted into Saturday's 3 p.m. game for free.
WITH THE CALL
Dave Nitz will call all the action for all three games, which can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Network on KNBB 97.7 FM. The series can also be seen and heard by subscribers on LA Tech All-Access. Live stats will be available via GameTracker by accessing the link on the baseball schedule page on LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Bulldog Baseball, please follow @LATechBSB on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.