By SCOTT D. LONGSTREET
A road trip to Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas,
brought Tech baseball two wins against a tough UT-Arlington team. Tech (3-3)
lost Friday night’s opening game 8-2 before storming back to take the final two
games over the Mavericks (1-3), 13-6 and 9-7.
“The key to the game was we cut our strikeouts in half
from Friday,” Tech head coach Wade Simoneaux said. “We went from 12 strikeouts
to six and did a better job of two-strike hitting and made their defense make
Tech senior Brandon Hudson was named Western Athletic
Conference hitter of the week. Hudson, from Benton, La., hit .583 going seven
for 12 in the three-game series against Texas-Arlington. He had one
triple, one home run and scored six runs in the three games. He also recorded
the win, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing four hits, two runs and two walks while
striking out three. It is Hudson’s first career WAC Hitter of the Week
award, though he was honored as the WAC’s Pitcher of the Week last week.
In the rubber game of the series on Sunday, Tech had to
go one extra frame to scratch a win to draw their record even for the year
despite committing seven errors in the series.
Tech tied the score in the top of the ninth on a single
by sophomore Patrick Thomas after UT-Arlington took a 7-6 lead with one run in the bottom of the
In the top of the tenth, both Brian Rike and Hudson began
with walks. After a pitching change, junior Albie Goulder sacrificed the
runners to second and third. After an intentional walk to junior Drew Bunting
loaded the bases, sophomore Nick Grunenwald singled in the winning runs.
Junior Aaron Lorio (1-0) got the win for Tech, pitching
the last three innings allowing no hits, no runs and striking out two Maverick
At the plate, a trio of batters led Tech. Thomas,
sophomore Jericho Jones and Hudson all had two hits each. Grunenwald and
Bunting added two RBI each as the team pounded out 12 hits.
Game two on Saturday saw the bats finally wake up for
2007 as Tech scored 13 runs off 18 hits including three home runs.
In the post game speech after Friday’s loss, Simoneaux
stressed better at-bats to cut back on strikeouts and increase the number of
base runners. The team responded to the speech as they had 25 base runners and
only six strikeouts.
“Last night’s talk on the bus really helped,” Simoneaux
said. “Our older guys needed to step up, and they stepped up in a big way. It
was good to get all those extra base hits and see us drive the ball and hit it
Tech fell behind early 3-1 after one inning and 4-3 after
four before the bats caught fire. They scored three in the top of the fifth and
four more in the sixth to stretch out their lead. They closed out the scoring
with three more in the ninth inning.
Senior Ryan Rupert got the start for Tech. In his first
action since 2005, after red shirting with an injury last season, he pitched
3.2 innings and allowed four runs and six hits. Hudson (1-0) came into relieve
Rupert and got his first win of the season. He pitched 5.1 innings allowing two
runs off four hits while striking out three batters.
“Hudson was outstanding in relief,” Simoneaux said. “He
pitched like a senior. He knew when he came in for Rupert in the fourth that it
was his game to finish.”
Grunenwald, Jericho Jones, Brian Rike, Goulder and
sophomore Patrick Maxwell all added two hits each. Rike hit his first homerun
of the year in the first inning along with another double. Jones hit home run
number one on the year as he hit a three-run shot in the ninth inning to
straight-away center field.
Tech opened the series against Texas-Arlington with four
errors and an 8-2 loss. Tech only managed four hits and nine base runners while
striking out 12 times.
“We have to hit better with two strikes,” Simoneaux said.
“You can’t win striking out 12 times, and we didn’t make our opponents play
The four errors resulted in two unearned runs.
Sophomore Luke Burnett (0-2) walked six batters in 3.2
innings as he took the loss. He allowed five runs with three of them earned and
stuck out three.
Tech threatened to make it a game in the fourth inning
after scoring two runs that cut the deficit to 4-2. After the Mavericks
responded with more runs in the bottom of innings four, six and eight, Tech was
not able to put enough offense together to overcome UTA’s eight hits.
Tech will host in state rival McNeese State for a three
game series opening up Friday at 6 p.m. Saturday’s game will start at 3 p.m.
with Sunday’s game scheduled to start at 1 p.m.