RUSTON, La. – It took nearly five hours and 13 innings to declare a winner on Wednesday night at J.C. Love Field, but Chase Lunceford walked away the hero as his two-out walk-off single gave Louisiana Tech (15-2) a 6-5 win over no. 9 Lafayette (9-5) in front of the largest crowd in Louisiana Tech Baseball history.
“There are so many things you can point to, but the main thing you can point to is that this team never quits competing,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I am so proud of them. I have never been as proud of a team, as I am of this team tonight.”
The Diamond ‘Dogs came up with some late inning magic, once again at the Love Shack, to force extra innings, as Raphael Gladu led off the bottom of the ninth with a game-tying solo home run to right center.
Once in extra, the Bulldogs wiggled their way out of a couple of jams and finally came through on an opportunity in the bottom of the 13th inning. A team that leads the nation in hit by pitch, it is only fitting that is how the inning would start.
Dalton Skelton took first base after being hit and a perfectly placed bunt from Jordan Washam moved him into scoring position. Lafayette walked the ninth-inning hero Gladu to create a double play opportunity.
With two outs, Lunceford hammered the 3-1 pitch off of the wall in centerfield allowing Skelton to easily score the game winning run.
Three Bulldogs, Jordan Washam, Gladu and Lunceford, registered three hits in the win and both Gladu and Brent Diaz registered multiple RBI in the win.
Louisiana Tech jumped out to a 2-0 lead through five innings, but Lafayette put a five-spot on the board in the top of the sixth. All five Lafayette runs came with two outs in the inning after a double play that temporarily ended the inning was overturned.
Louisiana Tech was not going down without a fight though as the Bulldogs pushed across a lone run in the bottom of the sixth, seventh and ninth to force extra innings.
The Ragin Cajuns scored all five of their runs in the fifth inning, while all six Louisiana Tech runs each came in a different inning.
Casey Sullivan got the start for the Bulldogs and tossed 4.1 innings, not allowing a run. He gave up just two hits and struck out four.
Austin Harrison and Graham Ahlrich combined to pitch 1.2 innings and had some tough luck falling victim in the five-run sixth for the Cajuns.
Nate Harris was electric tossing four innings of relief out of the pen, allowing just three hits and striking out four Cajun batters.
After Tim Jordan faced four batters and did not allow a run, Zack Hamilton tossed the final 2.2 innings, picking up his second win of the season. Hamilton allowed just one hit and one walk, facing nine batters.
Louisiana Tech opens Conference USA play on Friday night at the Love Shack, welcoming Southern Miss for a three-game set. All three games will be broadcast on ESPN 97.7 and streamed on CUSA.TV.