Inside-the-park grand slam highlights LA Tech’s regional win over DBU

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LTU-DBU baseball
(Photo: Tom Morris)

BOX SCORE

AUSTIN, Texas — Louisiana Tech catcher Jorge Corona knocked in six runs and homered twice — including a rare inside-the-park grand slam — to lead the hot-hitting Bulldogs to a 12-5 victory over Dallas Baptist in the first day of the NCAA Austin Regional at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

No. 9 Texas beat Air Force, 11-3, in the first game. The Longhorns and Bulldogs, with matching 43-19 records, advance to the winner’s bracket and will play Saturday at 6 p.m.

“I just told our guys, this is why you play college baseball,” Tech coach Lane Burroughs said. “Texas right now is just like us: trying to get to a Super (Regional), trying to get to Omaha. It should to be an awesome atmosphere tomorrow.”

Taylor Young and Philip Matulia each had a double and three hits, and Tech’s 1-5 batters each scored at least two runs as the Bulldogs outhit the Patriots, 12-9. Centerfielder Cole McConnell also doubled and Matulia homered to go along with Corona’s pair of homers.

The Bulldogs have won 10 of their last 12 games, are averaging 8.8 runs a game during that stretch, and their 43 wins are tied for the second most in a single season in program history and is the most since 1987.

Left-hander Jonathan Fincher (8-2) got the win, even though he didn’t know until noon that he was starting.

“Neither did we,” Burroughs said of himself and the coaching staff.

Senior Cade Gibson couldn’t get loose and should be able to pitch by Sunday, but in the mean-time Fincher was called on for the 19th time this season. In his 14th start of 2022, all he did was go five innings and allow just one run, the sixth time this season he’s gone at least five innings and allowed no more than a single run.

“Didn’t have his best stuff,” Burroughs said, “but Finch, he’s a warrior.”

The lone run he allowed came in the third when DBU centerfielder Nathan Humphreys homered, only is second of the season, to left field with the wind blowing out; left fielder Adarius Myers lost his glove on the play reaching over the fence.

Matulia, who struck out in his first at-bat, took the first pitch he saw in his second at-bat and hit it off the light standard beyond the right field fence, a mammoth blast that scored Young, who’d doubled, to give Tech a 2-1 lead.

“Every time they scored,” Burroughs said, “we answered.”

Tech scored five in the fifth to make it 7-1, something the Patriots had no answer for. Matulia knocked in two with a double—he tied his career-high with four RBIs on the night, something he’s done twice before—then McConnell knocked him in with a double to left before Corona’s first homer of the night.

Landon Tomkins relieved Fincher and gave up three runs to make it 7-4 in the top of the sixth; Greg Martinez came in with one out in relief of Tomkins, picked up two quick outs, then cruised the rest of the way and gave up just one run.

“Phenomenal,” Burroughs said of the junior righthander’s effort.

The ‘Dogs answered again in the bottom of the sixth. Matulia singled, Steele Nettervville walked, McConnell reached on an infield single, then Corona hit a routine fly ball to right center—only it turned out not to be so routine. Centerfielder Humphreys immediately put his hands up—he just never saw the ball—and Corona’s hit landed behind him and rolled to the fence. Inside-the-park grand slam with no play at the plate to give Tech an 11-4 lead.

“I’ve played outfield; I’ve been there,” Burroughs said. “I felt bad for the guy, I really did. But as good as Dallas Baptist is, it was huge for us to get those runs in.”

SATURDAY PROBABLES
LA Tech – RHP Ryan Jennings (5-1, 3.74 ERA)
Texas – LHP Lucas Gordan (7-1, 2.41 ERA)

NOTABLES
Bulldogs have won 10 of their last 12
Tech claimed win No. 43 of the season; most since 1987
Corona had his second two-home run game of the season
Sixth time this season Fincher has gone five innings allowing no more than one run
21st time this season the Bulldogs have had a five plus run inning (Fifth inning tonight)
Matulia tied career-high four RBI
Young recorded three hits; 13th time this year he has had three-plus hits
LA Tech is now 6-4 in regional openers

SOCIAL MEDIA
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