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By SCOTT D

By SCOTT D. LONGSTREET

sdl008@latech.edu

 

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 plays.”

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 eighth.

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 batters.

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 hard.”

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 defense.”

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.


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