RUSTON, La. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team swept its second consecutive Conference USA series on Sunday afternoon, defeating the visiting UTSA Roadrunners, 6-3, from J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
LA Tech (21-10, 8-4 C-USA) clinched its third straight league series win, while capping off an eight-game homestand with a 7-1 record. The Bulldogs have now won 10 of their last 12 games and seven consecutive wins over conference foes.
“That was a good ball club that we beat this weekend,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “They (UTSA) took two of three from Southern Miss last weekend. They’re very well coached and have two of the best starters in our league. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and the way they took care of business this weekend. It’s been a long haul back from 0-3, but we feel like we’re playing the best we have all year right now. We got three quality starts this weekend, and that makes all the difference in the world.”
In the final game of the weekend sweep of the Roadrunners (13-19, 5-7 C-USA), leadoff man Taylor Young tied his career high in hits (4-for-5) and set a new career best with four RBI, while driving in all but two of the Bulldogs’ six runs on the day.
Each of the sophomore’s three run-producing base knocks came with two outs, as the Bulldogs scored all six of their runs with two outs.
The Bulldog pitching staff also showed up in a big way, posting shutdown innings after every frame the Tech offense drove in a run.
Tech got on the board in the bottom of the first on a Steele Netterville RBI single to left, scoring Mason Mallard, who reached via a drag bunt single down the third base line.
Then in the second, Tech added another run on Young’s first RBI single of the day – this one back up the middle, scoring catcher Chris Clayton, who had led off the frame with a double to left.
Meanwhile, Tech starter Logan Bailey held UTSA off the board in each of the first four innings. Bailey dealt with base traffic through each of the first three frames, before retiring the side in order on just nine pitches in the fourth.
The left-hander allowed a run in the top of the fifth, but recovered to pitch through the sixth inning for the first time this season. Bailey (4-3) scattered eight hits, but allowed just the one run, while striking out five and walking one in 101 pitches through six complete innings.
Leading now 3-1 after a Parker Bates solo home run to center field in the bottom of the fifth, Tech tacked on two more in the sixth via Young’s second two-out single of the day, this one bringing home both Clayton and Manny Garcia, pushing the lead out four at 5-1.
Senior left-hander David Leal entered the game for Bailey in the seventh and tossed a scoreless top half before running into some issues in the eighth. Leal allowed a leadoff single in the eighth, and then a borderline one-out walk placed runners at first and second. With two outs, UTSA second baseman Bryan Arias lined a two-run double just over the glove of a leaping Young at short, cutting the Tech lead in half at 5-3.
Fellow southpaw Kyle Griffen entered in relief of Leal and induced a weak flyout to left to retire the side. Despite the two-out double, Leal was sharp in relief, as the senior struck out four of his 10 batters faced in just his third appearance back from injury.
Then in the ninth, Tech called upon senior closer Braxton Smith to pick up his third save of the weekend. The right-hander delivered, routinely retiring the side in order on just nine pitches, while picking up his team-best seventh save of the season.
Over the three-game set, Smith allowed just one hit in three scoreless innings, while striking out five and walking just one.
Young paced the Tech offense, hitting .583 (7-for-12) with six RBI, while reaching base at a .683 clip over the weekend set.
Tech will hit the road next week, taking on UL-Lafayette in a non-conference Tuesday matchup, before travelling to the league leaders in the Florida Atlantic Owls next weekend.
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