College baseball: Tech’s hot start not enough in loss to LSU

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By Tyler Hotz, Louisiana Tech Assistant Director of Athletic Communications 

BATON ROUGE — Taylor Young crushed his third home run of the season to jumpstart a four-run third inning in Louisiana Tech’s 16-7 defeat to No. 11 LSU at Alex Box Stadium on Monday evening.

Hunter Wells and Parker Bates followed Young’s solo shot with a pair of singles to put runners at first and second, setting up cleanup batter Steele Netterville to deliver his second career triple for a pair of RBIs. Netterville’s line drive sailed over the right fielder’s head on an 0-2 count to extend Tech’s lead to 3-0.

Manny Garcia continued the explosive Bulldogs’ frame with a jam shot into shallow center field, plating Netterville from third to make it 4-0 Bulldogs. LA Tech (1-1) scored all of its runs with no outs in the fourth, racking up seven hits before the inning came to a close.

LSU (2-1) weathered Tech’s early barrage to pull away from the Bulldogs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, scoring 14 of their 16 runs in the ballgame during that three-inning stretch. A Gavin Dugas grand slam erased LA Tech’s 6-2 lead in the bottom of the sixth before a solo homer from Jordan Thompson gave the Tigers the lead for good.

“I love our club, and I like our team,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “The disappointing thing if you have to look at the negative was our bullpen, but those guys are guys we have to lean on and count on, and we will have some guys available tomorrow, too.

“We used a lot of arms tonight, but Jarret Whorff will start tomorrow, and he’ll give us a good start. He pitched against ULL last year and pitched really well against them. I thought tonight we learned a lot about our team, and there’s a lot to be learned from this game that we played tonight.”

After Dylan Crews tallied a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth to trim Tech’s lead to 4-1, Bates responded with a solo shot of his own to right center to reestablish a four-run lead for the Diamond Dogs. Bates attacked the first pitch he saw from LSU starter AJ Labas, tagging the right-hander for one of his 11 hits allowed in 3.1 innings on the mound.

LSU applied pressure in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with just one away. Redshirt senior Cade Gibson made his LA Tech debut out of the bullpen by limiting the damage to just a single run, helping the ‘Dogs maintain a 5-2 lead after five.

Just like Bates did in the fourth, Wells delivered a solo blast to left field to stretch Tech’s lead back to four at 6-2. Wells’ homer in the sixth gave Tech’s leadoff through three-hole batters a solo home run apiece in Monday night’s contest.

The Tigers’ bats roared to life following Dugas’ grand slam, scoring four or more runs in the next three frames. The Diamond Dogs tacked on a run in the game’s final inning with an RBI groundout from catcher Kyle Hasler, who entered the game in the eighth for Jorge Corona.

Tech’s first five batters in its lineup recorded multi-hit games, four of which recorded at least one extra-base hit. Bates paced the Bulldogs with a 3-for-4 day at the dish with a home run and two runs scored. LA Tech starting pitcher Ryan Jennings performed well in his Bulldogs’ debut, working 4.1 innings on the mound while allowing just two runs and four hits.

LSU’s Gavin Dugas led the way for the Tigers, scoring three runs to go along with his timely grand slam. LSU pitcher Javen Coleman earned the win in Monday’s game after delivering 3.2 innings of one-hit, one-run baseball from out of the bullpen.

LA Tech will continue its road trip away from Ruston with a 6 p.m. matchup on Tuesday at UL-Lafayette. Tuesday night’s action at Russo Park will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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— Featured photo by Jonathan Mailhes