RUSTON, La. – A constant downpour rarely relented, but Sunday afternoon was anything but gloomy as Louisiana Tech (11-1) completed the three-game sweep over Wichita State (7-3), 12-10 at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Chase Lunceford led the offensive effort with a two-home run performance, while fellow-senior Raphael Gladu added a clutch home run of his own.
“The perseverance, grit, determination and heart; we can keep going on and on,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I just said all of that out there to the club. Those are the things they show and continue to show. It is the sign a mature club and an experienced club. I am having fun being a part of it. They are having fun. We are playing loose and we can be a tough team to beat if we stay centered. We can’t get too high or too low, just have to stay centered.”
Tyler Follis was called into weekend action, making his second start of the season. Follis, who started Wednesday against Arkansas, tossed three innings on Sunday afternoon picking up a no decision.
Nate Harris picked up the victory moving to 2-0 on the year, tossing 3.1 innings in relief.
Command would be an issue for pitchers in the contest, as the rain created difficult conditions not just in the grip of the ball but on the mound. However, Louisiana Tech’s turf field allowed the game to continue for all nine innings.
Wichita State took their first lead of the game and did it in commanding fashion, putting a four-spot on the board in top of the fourth inning.
Lunceford responded with his first home run of the game, a solo shot to right center, which cut the deficit to 4-1.
The Shockers would get that run immediately back in the top of the fifth, to maintain their four-run lead.
Louisiana Tech would put up a four-spot of their own in the bottom of the fifth to tie things up. With the bases loaded and nobody out, a fielder choice from Gladu brought home the first run of the inning. An RBI-infield single from Brent Diaz would cut the deficit to 5-3. Gladu would come home on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly from Jonathan Washam tied the game at 5-5.
Unfortunately, the rain continued to pour down and the Shockers took advantage of a couple of Louisiana Tech miscues in the top of the sixth. With a two-run frame, Wichita State held a 7-5 lead.
Nate Harris entered with two outs in the top of the sixth and struck out the first seven batters he faced.
After a quiet bottom of the sixth, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to one as Lunceford scrambled home on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh.
Trailing by one entering the bottom of the eighth, Gladu answered the call for the second time this season. After Jordan Washam was hit by a pitch, Gladu made the Shockers pay for the mistake, belting a go-ahead two-run home run to right center.
The Diamond ‘Dogs weren’t nearly finished yet. A batter later, Lunceford homered to left center to make it 9-7. Cody Daigle made it 10-7 with an RBI-double down the left field line. After Dalton Skelton singled up the middle to bring home another run, the Bulldogs had batted around. The final run of the inning came home as Jordan Washam walked with the bases loaded which forced home a run.
The Shockers threatened in the top of the ninth, scoring three runs, but Harris slammed the door to give Louisiana Tech a 12-10 win.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Tuesday night against Mississippi State at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed on SEC Network + which is available through WatchESPN. ESPN 97.7 will also carry the radio broadcast.