@LATechBSB Shows Great Improvement under Goff
May 21, 2015
RUSTON, La. - The Greg Goff era at Louisiana Tech ended with a 25-27 overall record, 10 more wins than the Bulldogs racked up the previous year and the second-highest winning percentage of any first-year head baseball coach at Tech.
The 10-win improvement from last season to 2015 is the seventh most in Louisiana Tech history, while the 12-game non-conference winning streak the Bulldogs put together to end the season tied a program record.
"The things we accomplished this year are a credit to our players because they bought into what we were trying to build here at Louisiana Tech," Goff said. "Our ultimate goal was to make the tournament, but hats off to our 12 seniors this year because those players laid the ground work for the future of this program. Their integrity and hard work will set the standards for years to come."
The Bulldogs proved they were tough throughout the campaign after breaking the LA Tech's single-season record for hit by pitch with a whopping 89 - a mark that ranked third in the nation following the end of the regular season.
Goff and Co. showed significant improvement in almost every statistical category, whether it was hitting, pitching or defense, which helped the 11-year coaching veteran to reach a milestone of his own with his 400th career win on May 12 against Northwestern State.
With the team sporting a .261 batting average at the end of the season, the Bulldogs improved 11 points from the previous year with junior second baseman Taylor Love and senior first baseman Taylor Nichols leading the way with .288 clips, respectively. LA Tech also scored more than 100 more runs in 2015 than in 2014 and drove in 99 more runs batted in as a team. The Bulldogs' on base percentage increased by 40 points from last season to 2015.
On his way to earning second team All-Conference USA honors, Phil Maton ended what was a decorated four-year career on the mound for the Bulldogs by leading all C-USA pitchers with 90 strikeouts, a personal best for the senior. The right-hander moved up eight spots on the career strikeouts list to end his time at LA Tech second all-time with 324 K's, while the Chatham, Illinois native is also the new owner of the school record for most innings pitched in a career.
While Maton's career came to a close in 2015, freshman catcher Brent Diaz' was just getting started. The Miami native started 44 of the 46 games he appeared in, 31 of which was from behind the plate. Diaz gunned down 15 runners attempting to swipe a base in a season that ended with the slugger being named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team.
From the beginning, 2015 was a season of firsts for everyone involved, but in the end, LA Tech turned heads in both non-conference and league play from start to finish.
"It was great to hear other coaches talk about the effort our players played with this season," Goff said. "They earned a lot of respect by the effort and attitude they portrayed throughout the season."
For the first time in two seasons, LA Tech put together a solid weekend at home to win a three-game league series over UTSA, one of Conference USA's top teams, to kick off the month of May. That series marked one of Goff's best memories from this season and the fan support that weekend was a key contributor to Tech's success on the diamond, something the Bulldogs became used to as the season progressed.
"The support we had this year at the Love Shack was absolutely unbelievable," he said. "Our fans were the major reason we had such a great record at home and we want to continue to build on that in years to come."
Looking ahead to the 2016 baseball season, Goff and the Bulldogs are gearing up for year two with lofty goals in mind. But the first priority on Goff's list has always been recruiting.
"I cannot wait to see the 21 new faces in our first recruiting class on campus this fall," he said. "As far as our needs, it always starts with pitching. We need more guys that can help us bridge the gap between our starters and closer. Another piece to the puzzle is the fact that we need more production from our RBI guys in the middle of the lineup."
Despite the Bulldogs' ending the 2015 with room for improvements, LA Tech made major strides under Goff in its first year in a new system and proved to Bulldog fans that the program is headed in the right direction.
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