LA Tech bounces backs for 13-4 win over WKU

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – The Louisiana Tech baseball team cranked out a season-high 18 hits en route to a 13-4 triumph over WKU on Saturday afternoon from Nick Denes Field. With the win, Tech evened the series at one, setting up a crucial rubber game on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m proud of our guys for fighting through some adversity today,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “Our bus wouldn’t start this morning, so we had to come over in vans and shuttles, but that didn’t affect our mentality. I’m proud of our hitters, we took some great swings and took advantage of the wind blowing out. We took some good swings, and evaluated pitches at a high level. I’m proud of Logan Robbins. I thought he was as good as he’s been all year. I thought the ball was absolutely exploding out of his hand, and he was very effective today.”

After a stagnant performance on Friday evening, the Tech (30-15, 14-6 C-USA) offense responded with a sizzling start in Saturday afternoon’s contest. The Bulldogs scored two in the first, three in the second and three in the third – jumping out to an early 8-0 lead over the Hilltoppers (20-22, 10-10 C-USA).

Tech starter Logan Robbins (7-0) was masterful throughout the afternoon. The left-hander went seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits, while striking out four. After pitching his last four starts without recording a decision, Robbins snapped the streak and earned his seventh win of the year – tying him with tomorrow’s probable starter Logan Bailey (7-1) for first on the team.

With the one, Robbins continued his perfect stretch while pitching at the collegiate level. The junior went 18-0 in two seasons at Jones County JC, before this year’s 7-0 mark – putting him at 25-0 for his collegiate career.

The bottom of the Tech order in Mason Robinson, Steele Netterville, Graham Hackbarth and Chris Clayton combined to score nine of Tech’s 13 runs, as the four reached base a combined 14 times.

Hackbarth went 3-for-4 at the plate, including a monster two-run no-doubt home run in the top of the eighth. Clayton returned from a shoulder injury suffered last weekend at Marshall, and went 3-for-6, while scoring a pair of runs. Netterville reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances and scored three runs, drew two walks, and notched a pair of base knocks, including an RBI double in the eighth. Reigning C-USA Hitter of the Week in Mason Robinson, went 2-for-6, including a tape-measure solo home run to right field, off the facing off the scoreboard in the third.

While the bottom of the lineup successfully continued to reach base, the top of the Tech order in Hunter Wells, Taylor Young and Mason Mallard each secured two RBI – cashing in on their multiple chances with runners on. Wells went 2-for-5 with an RBI single in the second, and an RBI groundout in the third. He also just barely missed a home run in the seventh, on a double that somehow stayed in the park after bouncing on top of the wall in left.

Taylor Young stepped in and started at shortstop for the first time this season, and continued his solid play both offensively and defensively. Young drew three more walks, increasing his team-leading total to 34 this season, while notching two hits and a pair of RBI.

Mason Mallard stole his 19th base of the season, after reaching on a fielder’s choice in the first. The Tech right fielder continued his perfection on the base paths, and still has the second-most stolen bases without being caught of anyone in college baseball.

Tanner Huddleston went just 1-for-6, while striking out four times, but smoked an RBI double into right center in the first, for his team-leading 35th RBI of the season.

Centerfielder Parker Bates extended his hitting streak to five straight games, the longest active streak on the team, as he singled to right in the ninth, and then came home to score on an RBI single from Hackbarth later in the frame.

Shelton Wallace came in to pinch-hit for the ‘Dogs in the ninth, and drew a walk – his second of the season.

Ben Stiglets gave Tech two innings of relief, allowing three runs on three hits, but struck out a season-best four batters.

WKU utilized seven different pitchers after starter Paul Kirkpatrick (4-4) made it through just one inning, allowing five runs (all earned) on five hits, while walking two.

The Bulldogs and Hilltoppers return to action tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. for the series finale. Tech is tentatively slated to start LHP Logan Bailey (7-1), while WKU has not announced a starter.

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