By: Tyler Hotz (Louisiana Tech Athletics)
RUSTON, La (Louisiana Tech Athletics) – A strong start from right-hander Jarret Whorff and excellent offensive performances from Adarius Myers and Kyle Hasler powered No. 17 Louisiana Tech to their 20th win of the season in Saturday’s series finale over UAB. The Bulldogs shut out the Blazers 6-0 to clinch the weekend series victory at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
The Bulldogs (20-7, 6-2 C-USA) moved to 6-0 in weekend series’ finales with their sixth shutout of the season. No. 17 LA Tech opened the scoring early at the Love Shack, tallying a pair of runs in the second inning with two outs to take the lead for good.
Hasler, who finished the day 1-for-3 with three RBI, fought his way back into a count against UAB starter Austin Bohannon with runners at second and third and two away. After fouling off three pitches and taking two pitches to even the count at 2-2, the catcher lined a single to center field to score first baseman Manny Garcia and right fielder Steele Netterville to make it 2-0 Diamond Dogs.
Netterville knocked in Tech’s third run of the ballgame just an inning later, sailing a fly ball to center field to bring home second baseman Hunter Wells on a sacrifice fly. Myers made it three straight innings with a Bulldog run on the scoreboard when he turned on a 3-1 pitch for his second home run of the series, extending LA Tech’s lead to 4-0. Myers went 2-for-3 with a home run, an RBI and a run scored in the Bulldog victory.
“It’s always good to hit a home run,” Myers said. “I just tried to stay on it and listen to coach Gaspard’s teachings, and I happened to get on it.
“I didn’t know it was gone off the bat, so I was sprinting out of the box. I slowed myself down [this weekend] and felt really comfortable out there.”
LA Tech made it four consecutive innings with a run scored when Hasler watched ball four for an RBI, bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Hasler once again recorded a quality at-bat, seeing eight pitches in the at-bat before the ninth pitch sailed wide to make it 5-0 Diamond Dogs in the fifth.
Centerfielder Parker Bates recorded Tech’s final run of the game in the eighth, lifting a fly ball to right field to score leadoff batter Taylor Young from third to make it 6-0.
Whorff notched his fifth pitching victory of 2021 after posting seven shutout innings while allowing just six hits and two walks. The Winnsboro, Texas native struck out four Blazers and lowered his season ERA to 2.49. Whorff is now a perfect 4-0 in the Love Shack this season.
Saturday’s win also marked the return of right-handed reliever Kyle Crigger, who retired the Blazers in order in the ninth to record the final three outs. Crigger missed the first half of Tech’s season after rehabbing from offseason elbow surgery.
“To get Crigger out there, it was supposed to be nine months, but he did it in eight,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “That just shows what kind of worker he is.
“He worked his tail off to get back out there. I know his adrenaline was pumping, but he did what we know he can do out there. He’s just a competitor, so it was good to see that today.”
Right-hander Landon Tomkins also helped secure the shutout on Saturday, using a rare 1-4-6-3 double play to end the Blazer at-bat in the eighth. A chopper ticked off Tomkins’ glove before Young gloved it, tossed it to shortstop Alex Ray covering the bag at second who then delivered a strike to first to retire the side.
The Bulldogs’ second shutout of a conference opponent in 2021 helped them remain atop the Conference USA’s West Division. The Bulldogs will return to the diamond on Friday to open a four-game series at Rice in Houston.