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Diamond ‘Dogs down the Warhawks

March 29, 2018

 

ANDREW BELL
Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

The bats were hot and the gloves were sticky for the Louisiana Tech baseball team March 21 as the ‘Dogs took down in-state rival ULM at JC Love field.

 

Tech (17-6, 3-0) defeated ULM (11-9, 1-2) by a score of 6-1 to round off a five-game winning streak, while doing so in impressive fashion against a much-improved Warhawks’ team, which is already one game away from matching its win total from last year.

 

Largely responsible for Tech’s dominance was standout sophomore pitcher Tyler Follis, who threw a no-hitter, before being taken out in the top of the eighth inning due to a high pitch count.

 

He did not allow a single hit, struck out three batters, only gave up three walks and did not allow a run until leaving someone on base, before being taken out for senior pitcher Graham Ahlrich. The run was scored while Ahlrich was pitching, but statistically is attributed to Follis because he left the runner on base.

 

Tech head coach Lane Burroughs made the unpopular decision to take Follis out, but had his health in mind, considering his pitch count was up to 109 and they were up by a wide margin.

 

“I haven’t been a coach that long but I’ve never taken somebody out who had a no-no,” Burroughs said. “I thought I was about to get booed out of the stadium, but our fans know the game and he was at 109. He was scattering the ball with that last hitter, but he pitched great. He gave us a chance to win, and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

 

Not only were the Dogs filling it up from the mound, but their batting lineup showed some impressive power at the plate, with three home runs. One of those tanks came from their C-USA Co-Hitter of the Week Dalton Skelton, who continued his 15-game hitting streak with an impressive 2-4 outing. The senior hit a single and a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

 

“He’s been on fire,” Burroughs said. “I’m trying to stay out of his way. We don’t do much with him because when you’re on fire and rolling like that, you just kind of stay out of his way. But he’s seeing the ball really well right now for sure.”

 

Junior right fielder Mason Robinson also continued his strong play, batting 2-3 with a single and and a solo home run. Junior left fielder Mason Mallard got in on the action with a three-run bomb in the bottom of the third inning to separate Tech from ULM for good.

 

“We’re doing a great job of evaluating pitches at a high level,” Burroughs said. “Just seeing what’s a ball and what’s a strike, and I know that sounds elementary but our guys are doing a great job of getting pitchers in the stretch and getting runners on. I think we left a lot of runs out there tonight but I think the fact that we’re evaluating pitches very well is one reason we’re scoring runs.”

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