May 20, 2009
HONOLULU -- After finishing in second place in the Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech will begin the NAPA Auto Parts WAC Baseball Tournament with a single game against Hawai'i set for 12 a.m. CST on Friday at Les Murakami Stadium.
"Our players need to be ready to compete tomorrow night," Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "We have to put everything we did during the regular season behind us. We need to build on the things that we did well and forget about the things we did poorly."
The Bulldogs and Rainbows will meet for the fifth time this season. Just over two weeks ago, LA Tech swept Hawai'i in a four-game series in Honolulu.
Kyle Roliard led his team in the four-game set with a .538 batting average (7-for-13), while Devon Dageford ranked first on the team with five runs scored and eight hits. He also smashed three doubles, one triple and one home run, good for four RBI.
Infielder Ryan Morford went 9-for-16 against the Bulldogs with a team-high five runs scored, three doubles, two home runs and four RBI.
"We need to go out and compete against a very tough Hawai'i team," Simoneaux added. "We can't take anyone lightly in this tournament because any team is capable of winning it. We need to play as if we are the underdog by fighting and scratching for every pitch and every win we can possibly get."
The tournament opener for Louisiana Tech and Hawai'i will mark the third time the two schools have faced each other in postseason play. During the conference tournament in 2006 in Fresno, Calif., the Rainbows defeated the Bulldogs twice.
The pitching matchup will feature a rematch from this year's series opener between the two schools as Jeb Stefan (4-5, 6.75 ERA) will start for the Bulldogs and right-hander Jayson Kramer (5-4, 3.62) will take the hill for the Rainbows.
In game one of the series, Stefan allowed only one run, it was earned, on five hits and one walk in 7 2/3 innings. The true freshman from Lafayette, La. also struck out a career-high 12 batters. In his last outing, he held a solid New Mexico State offense to four runs, all earned, on only five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Even though he didn't pitch as well as his counterpart, Kramer hurled a complete game against the Bulldogs. He gave up seven hits, five runs (two earned) and did not walk a single batter. He also struck out four. In his last outing against Utah Valley State, he gave up two runs (one earned) on seven hits, while striking out seven in eight innings pitched.
All games of the tournament can be viewed for a single subscription price of $17.95 at www.WAC.tv.
Scott Robbs will call the play-by-play action on ESPN 97.7 FM or www.espn977.com online. The pregame show will begin at approximately 11:50 p.m. CST on Thursday.
Live stats will be available at the online home of Louisiana Tech athletics, www.latechsports.com.