Long ball powers LA Tech past Northwestern, 14-5

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RUSTON – Four Bulldogs sent baseballs into the Kennel on Friday night as Louisiana Tech put up runs in seven of its eight innings to defeat Northwestern, 14-5, in game one at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

Ethan Bates went yard first for LA Tech (6-4) with a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to give the ‘Dogs a 2-1 advantage after Northwestern (0-7) manufactured the first run of the game.

After the Wildcats tied it up in the second (again with a sacrifice fly), Adarius Myers untied it with an opposite field shot of the solo variety in the bottom half.

NU put the barrel on the ball quite frequently through the first two innings, banging out three hits on ace pitcher Jonathan Fincher. But, the savvy veteran settled in and threw up zeroes over the next five innings, including a stretch of striking out six straight.

Meanwhile, the LA Tech bats never cooled off. After a walk and hit-by-pitch, Dalton Davis singled through the left side to score Brody Drost and Jorge Corona doubled down the left-field line to tack on two more to give the Bulldogs a 6-2 edge through three.

Bates was at it again in the fourth, this time singling through the right side of the infield to plate Logan McLeod. In the next inning, it was McLeod doing the driving-in as he collected a two-RBI single to make it 9-2.

The flood gates really opened up in the sixth when the Bulldogs put up four runs, led by Philip Matulia who took the first pitch he saw and deposited it deep over the right field wall for his sixth homer of the season. Walker Burchfield supplied a two-RBI double and Bates tallied his fourth RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly.

LA Tech was finally held scoreless in an inning (the seventh), but put one more on the scoreboard in the eighth, compliments of Jeffrey Ince who notched his first career hit as a Bulldog – a solo blast.

Northwestern found a little offense off freshman Jacob Havern, scoring three in the final two innings.

LA Tech pounded out 14 hits, led by Bates who went 3-for-3 and was a triple short of the cycle. Corona and Myers each had two hits. Fincher (2-1) went 7.0 innings, recording a season-high eight strikeouts in his 21st career victory.

Leadoff batter Owen McElfatrick went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the Wildcats. Starter Michael Farinelli (0-3) took the loss, going 2.1 innings while allowing six earned runs on five hits.

Head coach Lane Burroughs

“I thought we went up to Oxford and found an identity. Extremely proud of our guys. Northwestern’s record and numbers do not indicate what kind of team they are. I thought their hitters took great swings. I thought their pitchers had good stuff. We were fortunate to put a lot of runs on the board. It was a hitters night. [Ethan] Bates got us going with a two-run home run. He had a great night. We have a lot of really good players.”

“He was not Fincher-esque early. I thought his velocity was good and the ball was coming out of his hand well. He was missing location, but he settled in and threw up zeroes. We were able to put crooked numbers up and he would throw up a zero. Proud of him for settling in.”

• LA Tech recorded a season-high 14 runs while tying their season high with 14 hits. The Bulldogs reached double-digit runs for the third time this season.
• The Bulldogs registered a season-high four home runs – Ethan Bates (homered for a second straight game), Philip Matulia (team-high sixth homer), Adarius Myers (seventh of his career), and Jeffrey Ince (first career hit as a Bulldog).
• LA Tech scored at least one run in each of the first six innings, a feat that has not been done since May 5, 2018 against Middle Tennessee.
• Ethan Bates registered season highs in hits (three) and RBIs (four).
• Jorge Corona recorded his fifth double of the season. It was also his 41st career multi-hit game.
• Brody Drost drew two more walks, giving him a team-high nine on the season. It was the third time this season he has tallied at least two walks in a game.
• Jonathan Fincher tallied his 21st career win, which is tied for the ninth most in program history.
• Jonathan Fincher made his 70th career appearance, the eighth most in program history. It was also his 37th career start.He struck out a season-high eight batters.
LA Tech and Northwestern play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

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