By SCOTT D. LONGSTREET
A three-day attendance record of 8,548 was set as the
Bulldogs (1-2) took one of three from Top 5 ranked Arkansas (2-1) at J.C. Love
Field last weekend. Tech won the second
game of the series 9-2 and lost the opener 4-2 and the rubber game 6-2. Game
two was the first televised baseball game at home in Tech’s history.
“It was an outstanding crowd,” Tech head coach Wade
Simoneaux said. “It was a great crowd for our players. It was good to play well
for a crowd like that.”
Game one was played before 3,154 fans, the second largest
ever to watch a Tech baseball game as the fans braved the cold weather. The
fourth largest crowd (3,076) was on hand for Saturday’s Cox Sports Television
broadcast of game two. Sunday’s game final game was the sixth largest attended
game with 2,318 in the stands on a clear warm day.
“It was great that we won the game on TV,” Simoneaux
said. “The game was seen from Gainesville over into Texas. One million people
got to see us play.”
The rubber match on Sunday saw Tech grab a 2-1 lead after
the third inning. That lead held until the eighth until Arkansas managed to
turn up its cold bats with four in the top of the eighth and one more in the
Sophomore starting pitcher Dylan Moseley (0-1) was in
control as the game headed into the eighth having given up one hit and one run,
both in the first inning. He had retired ten consecutive batters twice before
back-to-back singles in the eighth led to the Razorback comeback.
Junior Brian Walker stepped to the plate for Arkansas and
hit a three-run-home run to give the Hogs their final lead of the game. After
some heated words and emptying of benches, play resumed.
“Arkansas’s captain was taunting our players as he passed
each one of them,” Simoneaux said. “He then tossed his helmet toward our
pitcher and I ran to the umpire to let him know we were not happy with that. He
gave us both [benches] a warning.”
Moseley was ejected from the game after throwing behind
the next batter, causing yet another dugout- emptying ceremony.
“Moseley is a competitor and he is from Arkansas,”
Simoneaux said. “He was not going to let it go without responding.”
Tech finished the game using five other pitchers and gave
up three more runs but could never regain the lead. Arkansas scored four in the
eighth and one in the ninth to close the scoring at 6-2. Tech committed two
errors in the last two innings as well.
“We made mistakes in the end of this game,” Simoneaux
said. “We played 25 good innings and to have it fall apart in the last couple
Tech fell behind early in the first inning as Arkansas
scored an unearned with the help of a wild pitch. Tech scored runs in both the
second and third innings to gain a 2-1 lead before the heat was turned up in
the eighth inning.
Moseley took the loss allowed four runs (three earned) on
four hits while striking out one over his seven innings. Tech was led at the
plate by sophomore Nick Grunenwald and junior Drew Bunting who went two-
for-three with a walk.
Senior Brandon Hudson went one for four with an RBI while
juniors Brian Rike and Derek Shaw each added one hit. Rike and junior Albie
Goulder scored the two runs.
Arkansas was led by senior Jake Dugger, who went
two-for-four with two runs and Walker who went one- for-four with his home run
in the eighth plating three RBI.
Senior Chris Rhoads (1-0) picked up the win in relief of
starter junior Duke Welker. Rhoads pitched 3.2 innings and allowed no runs or
hits while striking out two. Junior Jess Todd (2) got his second save of the
series by pitching two scoreless innings allowing two hits and striking out
three Tech batters.
Game two saw the Diamond Dawgs strike early and never let
up as the handed Arkansas its first loss of the year 9-2. This was the first
win over a Top 5 team since the ninth inning rally last April 6, when Tech beat
then- No. 3 ranked Mississippi State.
Tech scored two in the bottom of the first as six players
batted. Junior Adam Cobb got the first hit of the game and Hudson drove in the
first run of the game with another single. Senior Courtney Jones platted Hudson
by hitting a double to end the scoring in the first.
Sophomore Jericho Jones (1-0) gained his first win of the
year and pitched a shutout into the sixth inning. After giving up back-to-back singles and a
walk, Hudson moved to the mound in relief of Jericho Jones and got Tech out of
the bases loaded jam by striking out the side to end the Razorback rally and
thus the rest of the scoring for the Hogs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tech added another run with a
Courtney Jones homer to left field. Tech followed with five more runs in the
seventh to close out the scoring on the day and make the score 9-2.
Grambling State transfer Courtney Jones led the Bulldogs
going three for four with two doubles, one home run, four RBIs and two runs.
Rike and Cobb also had multi-hit games each getting two hits with Rike knocking
in two RBIs.
“He [Courtney] is a great athlete and a great
competitor,” Simoneaux said. “It is just one game but we knew he would
contribute to our lineup.”
On the mound, Hudson garnered his first save of the
season as he pitched the four scoreless innings allowing just four hits and
striking out five. Jericho Jones allowed four hits and two runs while striking
out six in his five innings of work.
Junior Casey Coon who went three for three with two RBIs
led Arkansas. Taking the loss for Arkansas was junior Shaun Seibert who allowed
two runs and five hits while striking out three.
In the first game of the series on Friday night, cold
temperatures made the pitchers appear somewhat wild in the early innings. Both starting pitchers struggled with
control, which saw Arkansas grab a 3-2 lead after three innings. Both teams
settled down and only one more run was scored, a ninth inning homerun by Arkansas’
Dugger over the right field fence. Tech rallied with two runners on base in the
ninth inning. After the runners were moved to second and third, Hudson struck
out the end the rally and left the Bulldogs just short in the game.
Sophomore Luke Burnett (0-1) got took the loss for Tech
by allowing two hits and three earned runs in just 3.2 innings. He walked eight
batters and hit one batter. Junior Andrew Alsup pitched 5.1 innings allowing
only one run on three hits and striking out five.
Sophomore Chris Kersten led the offensive attack going
two for three as the only Tech player with more then one hit. Jericho Jones,
Goulder and senior Dennis Winn each added one hit apiece.
Getting the win for Arkansas was junior Nick Schmidt
(1-0). He pitched three innings and allowed one two runs on just one hit while
striking out three. He allowed five free passes, hit two more and had one wild
Junior Sean Jones led the Razorback attack at the plate
going two for five. Walker, Dugger and junior Ben Tschepikow added a hit with
Walker’s being a solo homerun.
The Tech baseball team will next play a weekend series in
Arlington, Texas. UT-Arlington will host the Bulldogs on Friday at 6:30 p.m.,
Saturday at 3 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m.
“They return eight of their nine starters in the field
and eight pitchers,” Simoneaux said. “They are picked to win the Southland
Conference so it will be a challenge at their place. They took two of three
from us last year at our place so they will pose as much of a challenge for us
as Arkansas did.”