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’Dogs stay strong in conference play

April 12, 2018

 

ANDREW BELL

Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

Junior lefty Logan Robbins improved his record to 6-0 in a game two victory over Florida International, while striking out four batters. – Photo by Donny Crowe

 

Even after a game one setback, the Diamond ‘Dogs keep finding ways to win conference series, thanks to one monster game from the lineup and one from the bullpen.

 

The Louisiana Tech baseball team (22-8, 7-2) prevailed victoriously after winning the rubber match in their series against Florida International (13-16, 4-5) March 31. Head coach Lane Burroughs and the Bulldogs can, in large part, attribute their series win to junior third baseman Tanner Huddleston and junior southpaw pitcher Logan Bailey.

 

Tech’s first win of the series was a 7-6 shootout in which Huddleston caught fire, almost single-handedly carrying the ‘Dogs to victory offensively. He went two-for-four at the plate with six RBIs and two three-run dingers. One came in the bottom of the fourth inning with Tech trailing 1-0, making it a 3-1 Tech lead, and the second came while they were leading 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The blast to center field put the ‘Dogs up 7-3.

 

“Tanner Huddleston absolutely came to the park ready to play,” Burroughs said. “He left the bases loaded (in game one) without getting a swing off, and when I pulled up (the next) morning, he was in the cages getting work in with his dad. Coach Creel also works with him so much — they go way back, and it’s showing. He came ready to play and those two-run homers were huge for us.”

 

While homers and runs were the recipe for success in Tech’s Friday win, their Saturday win (3-0) was carried on the sturdy shoulders of Logan Bailey. The weekend starter improved his record to 4-1 on the year and his ERA to 2.11 after pitching a six-inning shutout while striking out six batters.

 

“I thought the ball was coming out of Logan’s hand as well as it has all year,” Burroughs said. “That’s exactly how he looked in the fall and early on this spring — really sharp. He had to pitch out of some jams, but it’s a good feeling when you’ve got reliable late-inning guys down there, to help you navigate through those final innings.”

 

After Bailey’s impressive outing, he was relieved by sophomore lefty Kyle Griffen, who pitched two scoreless innings while striking out two batters and allowing no walks. Senior right-handed closer Kent Hasler finished things off in the ninth inning with three at-bats and three groundouts.

 

While Tech didn’t have to score as many runs to win the rubber match as they did in the previous two games, the batting lineup did what it needed to get the win. Sophomore second baseman Hunter Wells, senior shortstop Dalton Skelton and freshman designated hitter Steele Netterville all had a single RBI to round out the Bulldog’s scoring, including a solo bomb deep into left by Netterville in the bottom of the fifth inning to add to their lead.

 

“Taking care of business at home, and not getting swept on the road is a recipe for great things,” Burroughs said. “We’re 30 games into the season, and one thing you can say about these guys is that they’ve shown a resiliency to bounce back. That’s the sign of a good team.”

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