RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech (6-0) didn’t register their first hit until the fifth inning, but found an offensive rhythm over the next three innings to clinch the series against UT-Arlington (2-4) with a 7-3 win on Saturday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
“I told the guys that a lot of our hitters are trying to win a regional in February at home plate; trying to do a little too much,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “There was a lot of pressing going on at home plate early on. Gladu and Diaz each came through with a big hit. Usually it just takes that one guy, because hitting is contagious and so it not hitting. I am very proud of our offense. We stuck with it and I am very proud of our guys for staying the course and pulling out a win.”
Casey Sutton got the start for the Bulldogs and moved to 2-0 on the season, tossing five innings and giving up just two runs over that stretch.
UT-Arlington opened the bottom of the first with a leadoff double from Phil Berthiaume and he later came around to score on an infield ground out from Brady Cox.
The Bulldogs got their first run in the top of the fifth inning. After being no-hit to that point in the contest, Chase Lunceford broke through with a double down the right field line to open the inning. Marshall Boggs immediately follow with a single that put runners on the corners with nobody out.
A one-out chopper from Sean Ullrich rolled underneath the glove of Maverick shortstop Josh Minjarez which allowed Lunceford to score. After five innings, the Bulldogs trailed by just one, 2-1.
Jordan Washam opened the top of the sixth innings with a single down the right field line. Raphael Gladu followed with a chopper to first base and attempting to turn two, the throw down to second sailed into center field.
Louisiana Tech loaded the bases with nobody out when Brent Diaz was hit by a pitch, but consecutive punch outs nearly allowed UT-Arlington to escape the inning unscathed. Jonathan Washam came through though, singling up the middle to score both Washam and Gladu.
Graham Ahlrich came on in relief for Sutton in the bottom of the sixth and would toss two innings for Louisiana Tech.
The Bulldogs added an insurance run in the seventh after consecutive one out hits, the second an RBI-double from Gladu brought home Jordan Washam.
The Mavs chipped into the lead in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Brady Cox, which cut the LA Tech lead to 5-3.
The Bulldogs added two insurance runs in the eighth inning on a two-RBI double from Brent Diaz, which scored Dalton Skelton and Jordan Washam, making it 7-3 Bulldogs.
Nate Harris came on for the final two innings and picked up his second save of the season tossing two scoreless innings to finish off the Mavericks. Harris has now tossed 11 consecutive scoreless innings in relief for the Bulldogs.
“Graham came in and made some quality pitches and I am proud of him for coming in and building that bridge between Sutton and Harris,” Burroughs said. “I play for today and I want to win today, so we decided to go with Harris for the last two. I thought he was electric today.”
The series finale between Louisiana Tech and UT-Arlington is set for 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 97.7 and fans can find in-game updates on Twitter by following @LATechBSB.