Contributed by: LA Tech Athletic Communications
RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team dropped a 10-5 decision to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Sunday afternoon, as the visitors clinched a series sweep in the opening weekend of Conference USA play from J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
The Bulldogs (11-8, 0-3 C-USA) once again failed to receive a quality start on the mound, as senior left-hander Logan Bailey made it through three innings, while allowing four runs (all earned), while walking four and striking out four.
The Golden Eagles (11-6, 3-0 C-USA) got to the Tech southpaw early in the first, scoring three runs on a bases-loaded double from catcher Cole Donaldson.
Tech drew back to within one in the bottom of the first, getting to USM starter, Adam Jackson early on. Sophomore shortstop Taylor Young led the game off with a walk, before Mason Mallard lined a two-run blast over the wall in right, cutting the Southern Miss lead down to 3-2.
Southern Miss got to Bailey again in the third after an RBI single from Bryant Bowen, scored Brant Blaylock from second, who had lead off the frame with a single.
Trailing now 4-2, the Bulldog offense got the run back in the ensuing half inning, capitalizing on a pair of Golden Eagle errors, as a misplayed fly ball in center allowed Mallard to score, cutting the visitor’s lead back down to one at 4-3.
Junior RHP Tyler Follis entered in relief of Bailey to begin the fourth, and posted a scoreless top half. However, after a scoreless bottom of the fourth from the ‘Dogs, the Golden Eagles notched another crooked number, scoring three in the top of the fifth.
Follis began the inning with a walk to left fielder Matt Wallner and a single to Donaldson, before Bowen lined a two-run double off the wall in left. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Fincher entered in relief of Follis and allowed an RBI double to Will McGillis, which extended the visitor’s lead to 7-3.
Tech scored a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings, but the Golden Eagles saw a solo home run from Matthew Guidry in the eighth and a two-run blast from Bowen in the ninth to ice the ballgame.
Mason Strickland (2-0) picked up the win in relief, tossing 3.0 innings, while allowing one earned run on three hits. Ryan Och picked up his first save of 2019, pitching both the eighth and ninth innings, while walking three, but did not allow a hit or run.
Junior reliever Kyle Griffen gave the ‘Dogs 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, and did not allow a baserunner. Senior RHP Braxton Smith pitched the final three innings for the ‘Dogs, allowing three runs (all earned) on two hits, while striking out two and walking four.
Steele Netterville (2-for-5,1 run), Mason Robinson (2-for-3, 1 BB), Mason Mallard (1-for-2, 3 BB, 3 R, 2 RBI) and Taylor Young (0-for-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB) paced the Tech offense, while Bowen (3-for-3, 5 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB) and Donaldson (2-for-3, 3 RBI) combined for eight of Southern Miss’ 10 RBI on the afternoon.
The Tech defense turned a season-high three double plays, while stranding eight Southern Miss baserunners. The Golden Eagles committed a pair of errors, and stranded 11 Bulldogs.
Tech will look to get back on track at home on Tuesday evening, taking on Mississippi Valley State (2-8) from J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.