LA Tech falls in series finale to Marshall

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RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech’s baseball team dropped its first weekend series finale of the 2021 season with a 7-2 defeat to Marshall on Sunday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

The Bulldogs (28-11, 14-6 C-USA) got the day started early at the Love Shack with a 10 a.m. first pitch. Before right-hander Ryan Jennings hurled the first pitch of the game, the Bulldogs took a moment to honor and remember the devastation and loss of life an EF-3 tornado caused when disaster struck Ruston on April 25, 2019.

Adam McGuirt and his daughter, Lily, helped throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s series finale. McGuirt, who is LA Tech’s director of disaster recovery and strategic initiatives, was instrumental in helping rebuild Tech’s baseball, softball, soccer and tennis facilities.

On the mound, Jennings got the Bulldogs off to a hot start by sitting down the first five Marshall (8-24, 4-16 C-USA) batters to start the game. Six-hole batter Peter Hutzal then broke the scoreless deadlock with a solo home run to right field, putting the Thundering Herd up 1-0.

Marshall extended its lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth with another home run to right field. Second baseman Travis Sankovick delivered the two-run long ball after Geordon Blanton led off the inning with a leadoff walk.

The Bulldogs responded with a two spot of their own in the bottom half, doing all their damage with one out in the inning. After leadoff batter Taylor Young reached base on an eight-pitch walk, two-hole batter Hunter Wells ripped a double to right field just two pitches later. Wells’ double combined with an fielding error on the right fielder helped bring home Young all the way from first to trim the lead to 3-1.

With Wells on third, centerfielder Parker Bates lifted a fly ball to right field, allowing Wells to tag up and score on the sacrifice fly to cut the Thundering Herd lead to 3-2.

Marshall answered LA Tech’s scoring run with the game’s final four runs of the ballgame, tallying a run in the sixth and eighth before pushing across two final runs in the top of the ninth. Hutzal recorded his second homer of the afternoon with another solo shot in the sixth.

The Bulldogs left seven runners on base in Sunday’s setback, including four over the contest’s first three innings. Despite the loss, Wells continued his hot streak at the plate by batting .467 (7-for-15) in this weekend’s series, upping his average to .415 in conference play.

Jennings allowed just five hits and two walks over seven innings on the mound, but three long balls hurt Tech’s Sunday starter. The righty struck out seven opposing batters and worked two 1-2-3 innings in the series finale.

“This is baseball, and this happens during a 56-game schedule,” head coach Lane Burroughs said. “Anybody who’s ever been involved in it and been in this arena knows it can happen.

“It just wasn’t our weekend, and things didn’t go our way. We’ve got to put it behind us and get ready for Middle Tennessee. That’s all that matters right now, and we’ve got a lot of things in front of us. We’ve got a really good club, and we’ve got to come ready to work this week.”

The Bulldogs will now embark on a nine-game road stretch, playing the first eight games against Conference USA opponents before facing off against LSU for the second time this season in Alex Box Stadium. LA Tech opens its road swing with a four-game set at Middle Tennessee starting on Friday.

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