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Diamond ‘Dogs looking to hit the turf running

February 4, 2016

 

ALEX HEARD

Staff Reporter | amh072@latech.edu 

Catcher Brent Diaz sides into third base during a game against Marshall last May–Photo by Kenny Robertson/LA Tech Communications

Catcher Brent Diaz sides into third base during a game against Marshall last May–Photo by Kenny Robertson/LA Tech Communications

 

Educator Booker T. Washington once said, “nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.”

 

Head coach Greg Goff and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs baseball team must work hard this upcoming season to improve a subpar 25-27 record last year.

 

Though Tech’s overall record was mediocre yet respectable, their conference record was not, as they only won eight out of 29 conference games.

 

Taylor Love, a senior second-baseman, said Tech is working especially hard to show opposing teams they are not consistently average on the diamond.

 

“This (year’s) team works harder than any I have played for,” Love said. “Guys have been hitting just about every night, putting the extra work in, because they want to get better.”

 

Love is coming off a season where he ranked near the top of the team in nearly every statistical category. Love hit .288 while hitting 32 RBIs and six home runs. Love also had a .429 slugging percentage and got on base .385 percent of the time.

 

Goff said having such an experienced player like Love does wonders for the team as they can look to him to see how to play like a “true Bulldog.”

 

“Taylor has been in the league a number of years and has experienced the good and the bad,” Goff said. “Having a guy like him around who has so much integrity and respect is great. He is a great young man and we feel truly blessed to have him for one more year.”

 

Love said he usually is not one to speak much as he likes to lead by example; however, this season he is willing to venture away from his normal traits in order to lead the team.

 

“I have always been kind of quiet, but this is my time to lead,” Love said. “I have got to get guys in line and show them what to do. I must step out of my comfort zone so I can lead this team.”

 

Goff said Tech is neither a team nor a family, but something further, something more animalistic.

 

“We have a wolf pack mentality,” Goff said. “We are strong and really together. Each guy has a certain role and we try to identify that in our team. We ask our guys to eat lunch with each other throughout the fall and I truly believe we are growing. We just want to invest in each other because once you do so you care more about them.”

 

Love said the team is like soldiers on the frontline.

 

“We are very close-knit,” Love said. “We are one, everyone knows their role and are fighting for the man next to them. We are going to be successful because of that.”

 

Goff said although Tech has a multitude of new players coming in this season he is extremely optimistic and thinks there are guys ready to step up to replace good players from last year, even an all-time Tech great like Phil Maton.

 

“We have a few hidden gems,” Goff said. “We hit the road on the recruiting trail and brought in 23 new players, 21 of which are junior college transfers. It has been a transitional year but these new guys are hungry and ready to get after it. They are motivated because most of them did not originally get a shot at Division 1 baseball out of high school. They are all from winning junior college programs. I am really excited to build this program one year at a time and really like the direction this program is going.”

 

Tech opens the season at 2 p.m. Feb. 19 against Prairie View A&M in New Orleans.

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