Diamond ‘Dogs Ready for Key Road Weekend at No. 9 Southern Miss
May 10, 2018
RUSTON, La. – With just two regular-season weekends remaining in the Conference USA season, the Louisiana Tech baseball team will head to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for a three-game weekend set with league leader No. 9 Southern Miss.
The Bulldogs (33-17, 16-8 C-USA) most recently completed a season sweep of crosstown foe Grambling – defeating the Tigers 12-1 on Wednesday evening. Last weekend, Tech dropped two of three to Middle Tennessee – just Tech’s second conference series defeat of the year.
Meanwhile, Southern Miss (35-12, 19-4 C-USA) wrapped up a three-game sweep on the road against UAB last weekend. The Golden Eagles have won 12 of their last 13 contests, and are 20-5 at home this season. Southern Miss has won six straight over the Bulldogs, dating back to 2016.
This season, the Bulldogs have already amassed 16 road wins – the most of any Tech baseball team since the 1989 squad finished the year at 16-14 on the road.
This weekend’s matchup will feature two of the most successful pitching staffs not only in the league, but in all of college baseball. Tech’s team ERA of 3.02 continues to rank in the top 10 among national leaders (ninth), while continuing to set the standard for all 12 C-USA teams. The Golden Eagles rank second in the league in team ERA, posting a figure of 3.40, which is good for 27th nationally.
Southern Miss Friday night starter Nick Sandlin (7-0, 0.88 ERA, 72.0 IP 106 K, 10 BB) ranks second among national leaders with a 0.88 ERA.
Southern Miss leads the league in hitting (.298 team AVG), propelled by Luke Reynold’s league-best .380 batting average.
Tech’s offense has been surging in league play, as it leads the league with a .301 batting average in conference games. Tech has the most hits (258), doubles (57), total bases (397) and hit by pitch (38) among all teams in league play.
The Bulldogs have also continued to be deadly on the basepaths, swiping a league-best 36 bags in conference action. Tech leftfielder Mason Mallard had maintained his unprecedented run in stealing bases – swiping three more bags this past weekend. Mallard is now 25-for-25 in stealing bases this year, and continues to lead all of college baseball with the most stolen bases without being caught. His figure of 25 now leads all C-USA and is tied for 18thmost among all national leaders.
Leadoff man Hunter Wells has settled into his newfound first base role, and continues to be a productive force at the top of the Tech lineup. The versatile switch hitter leads the team with a .340 overall batting average and a .381 mark in league play. His 73 base hits are the most by any one player in C-USA and are 19th most nationally.
First pitch for Friday is set for 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 107.5 FM and can be streamed through the LA Tech X Mobile App. Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday’s (1p.m.) games will be back on SportsTalk 97.7. All three games will be streamed live on CUSA.tv (subscription required).
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