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By SCOTT D

By SCOTT D. LONGSTREET

sdl018@latech.edu

 

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 ninth.

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 was tough.”

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 pitch.

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.”


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