By: Tyler Hotz (Louisiana Tech Athletics)
RUSTON, La (Louisiana Tech Athletics) – Hunter Wells and Manny Garcia combined for nine hits, two home runs and seven RBI as Louisiana Tech moves to 6-0 in the new J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson with a 14-4 win over McNeese State on Sunday. The Bulldogs run ruled the Cowboys in eight innings to record their second straight weekend sweep at home.
After Bulldog starter Jarret Whorff worked out of a bases-loaded jam with back-to-back strikeouts, LA Tech (7-3) rewarded their Sunday starter with a five-spot in the bottom half of the first. Leadoff man Taylor Young recorded a single to open the inning, moving up to second on a throwing error from McNeese’s shortstop. Wells then reached on another error to the left side of the infield before senior centerfielder Parker Bates drove home the first run of the game with a single to right field.
With a 1-0 lead, the Diamond Dogs completed a double steal of second and home when Wells broke for home from third as a throw down to second was too late to tag out Bates at second. A walk from left fielder Philip Matulia put runners at first and second before Garcia blasted a home run to left field, making it 5-0 Diamond Dogs after the first inning.
“We really swung the bat really well today,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “I thought Manny Garcia and Hunter Wells were outstanding and dialed in today.
“We’re undefeated in the friendly confines of the new Love Shack. Sunday is about toughness, and we came in today talking about not being satisfied with the series win.”
Wells added to LA Tech’s lead in the second inning with a home run of his own to right field, pushing the lead to 6-0 after two frames. McNeese State (5-6) pushed across its first run in the third with a single to right field from designated hitter Tre’ Obregon, trimming the lead to 6-1.
The Bulldogs responded an inning later with a pair of runs in the fourth. Matulia drove in Tech’s seventh run with an RBI groundout before Garcia recorded his second extra-base hit of the afternoon with a double to right center, bringing home right fielder Steele Netterville for an 8-1 lead.
Tech tallied three more runs in the fifth to stretch its lead to 11-1, turning five team at-bats into four frames with at least one run scored. Young recorded a sacrifice fly to right field to score starting catcher Jorge Corona for the ninth Bulldog run. Netterville then reached on an error by the third baseman to push across Tech’s 10th run before Matulia recorded LA Tech’s second sacrifice fly of the inning to make it 11-1 ‘Dogs after five.
Whorff battled through the first inning to deliver an outstanding performance on Sunday, pitching six innings with five strikeouts while allowing just one run to earn his second straight Sunday afternoon pitching victory. Relievers Nick Ellis and Greg Martinez pitched the final two innings for the Bulldogs to close the game out. Martinez allowed no hits with a pair of punchouts in his 1.1 frames on the mound.
After McNeese State extended the game with three runs in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs clinched the run-rule victory with three runs in the eighth inning. Young registered a base hit to left field to bring home Garcia to make it 12-4. Wells then doubled down the left field line to score Young and new shortstop Logan McLeod to end the game, capping off an exceptional 5-for-6 day at the dish with three RBI, a home run and four runs scored.
Garcia finished the day 4-for-4 with a homer, four RBI and two runs scored. Young also tallied three hits of his own, driving in two runs in the lopsided Sunday victory.
The Bulldogs will head east on I-20 to take on ULM for a Tuesday night away matchup. First pitch at Warhawk Field is set for 6 p.m.