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Diamond ‘Dogs put down by Ragin’ Cajuns

May 3, 2018

 

ANDREW BELL

Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

Coming off of a five-game winning streak, the Diamond ‘Dogs were humbled by the Ragin’ Cajuns in classic beat-down fashion.

 

Dominating offensively and defensively, ULL (24-20, 10-9 Sun Belt) got their revenge on Louisiana Tech (29-15, 13-6 C-USA) by a score of 9-4 April 24, after Tech laid the smackdown on ULL a week earlier.

 

Tech had trouble slowing down the offense of ULL all night, due to the troubles starting junior pitcher David Leal had with errors early on. Leal had three costly errors in the first two innings, aiding in the four runs scored by the Cajuns in those two innings.

 

To add to Leal’s already tough outing, he allowed six hits, five runs and two earned runs in five innings.

 

Head coach Lane Burroughs said he is confident Leal will shake back from this performance, as he has had an overall successful season, with a 1.70 ERA and 3-2 record coming into this game.

 

“I think David got a little sped up,” Burroughs said. “(ULL’s) offense had something to do with that, and once all of (the errors) happened, I think he got out of his rhythm and he wasn’t as good as he has been. But he’s human, and he’s been good every time out. He’s been good for us all year, and he’ll be back out there next time we need a win.”

 

Pitching was far from the only issue Tech had in their midweek in-state rivalry game, as their bats suddenly cooled off after previously scoring 10 or more runs in five straight games, including a 15-2 victory against ULL April 18.

 

Tech hit 5-for-27 from the plate and only scored one run through the first eight innings, before getting a few — too little, too late — runs in the bottom of the ninth.

 

This was much to the displeasure of the offensive-minded Burroughs, who attributed the loss to a lack of firepower on offense and missed opportunities defensively.

 

“We didn’t dominate average plays, which is something we talk about in our program all of the time,” he said. “I thought we let some very average plays get past us, and that stuff happens, but it really snowballed. The disappointing thing to me was that we’ve been so good offensively and our chain got busted tonight. There were some links that absolutely got destroyed in our chain and we had been doing so well (previously), but I’m disappointed we didn’t play better tonight.”

 

Tech currently sits at third place in the Conference USA standings, a game and a half back from first-place Southern Miss. After two weekend series against Western Kentucky (20-21, 10-9 C-USA) and Middle Tennessee (22-20-1, 7-11-1 C-USA), they will travel to Southern Miss (30-11, 14-4 C-USA), in what should be a crucial conference matchup.

 

“For whatever reason, it seems like we play better on the road,” Burroughs said. “I don’t know what that’s all about but it just seems like at home, especially in these mid-week games lately, we haven’t been playing good. So we took one step back, and we have to take three forward. If you’re gonna be an elite program, you don’t take nights like this off.”

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