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Baseball completes historic season

July 1, 2016
First team All-Conference USA pitcher Casey Sutton picked up his eighth win of the year in Louisiana Tech’s 9-4 win over SEMO during the super regional at Dudy Noble Field. – Photo by Donny Crowe/LA Tech Communications

First team All-Conference USA pitcher Casey Sutton picked up his eighth win of the year in Louisiana Tech’s 9-4 win over SEMO during the super regional at Dudy Noble Field. – Photo by Donny Crowe/LA Tech Communications

 

 

Kerry Waguespack

Staff Reporter | kfw005@latech.edu

 

 

In his second season at the helm, Greg Goff and the Bulldog baseball team had a historic season in 2016, qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 1987 season.

 

 

The Bulldogs were 42-20 while going 19-11 in conference play, a mark which secured the team’s first Conference USA tournament appearance since joining the league three years ago.

 

 

Going into the conference tournament, the Bulldogs knew they had a shot to make a regional, but that is not what was on Coach Goff’s mind.

 

 

“My whole mindset when I got on that bus is that we are going to win a championship,” Goff said. “We have to go down and win a championship, do not put it in anybody’s hands but your own.”

 

 

In the tournament, the Bulldogs ended up dropping the opening round game against Rice. They then won their next two games to set up a rematch with the Owls. Needing to win two games to make the championship game, the Bulldogs won the first game, before falling in a close contest 11-9 after a worn bullpen was not able to contain the Owl’s offense.

 

 

The NCAA selection committee rewarded the Bulldogs for their outstanding season with an at-large bid to the Starkville Regional where they faced off with California State – Fullerton, Southeast Missouri and the host school Mississippi State universities.

 

 

“It was an awesome day for our program, these kids, our coaching staff and our fans,” Goff said of receiving the bid, “It has been almost 30 years since this program has been to a regional. There was so much uncertainty when we took over the program.”

 

 

In the regional, the Bulldogs faced Cal State Fullerton in the opening round. The game was postponed, before being moved to early the next morning, where the Bulldogs lost a close game.

 

 

Following the heartbreaking 1-0 loss, the Bulldogs faced Southeast Missouri in an elimination game, and with the season on the line, Tech’s bats showed up in a big way, going off for nine runs.

 

 

“I was a little worried after that three-run home run in the first, but our guys are resilient,” Goff said. “They never give up, especially when their backs are against the wall.”

 

 

When given the chance at a rematch with Fullerton, the team had something to prove after the loss the day before. The Bulldogs bounced back and ended the Titans’ season, setting up a showdown with the host Mississippi St. for a chance to advance to a super-regional for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs needed to beat Mississippi St. twice to advance, but lost a hard-fought game, 4-0, which ended the season.

 

 

“I am incredibly proud of our players and what these young men have accomplished in their time at LA Tech,” Goff said. “The guys have helped change the culture of this baseball program and I am blessed to have had the opportunity to coach players who have worked so hard to get to this point.”

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