Bulldogs fly by Air Force, play at LSU today at 5

Although Mother Nature spoiled most of the weekend’s competitions for Louisiana Tech teams — including the basketball squads — baseball, volleyball and indoor track and field were all able to compete.

In Baton Rouge, coach Lane Burroughs’ Bulldog baseball team slammed Air Force 18-1 Sunday evening and will play LSU at 5 o’clock today.

Taylor Young, Steele Netterville and Cole McConnell each homered and five Tech pitchers combined to record 16 strikeouts as the Bulldogs dominated in their season opener at Alex Box Stadium.

The Bulldogs face LSU today at 5 p.m. in a game that will be on SEC Network Plus and broadcast on KNBB 99.3 FM.

“Tomorrow doesn’t care about today,” said Burroughs. “We play a really, really good team tomorrow (Monday). It is just like life. It starts over every day.”

Young recorded three hits – two home runs – while scoring four runs and driving in four more to lead a Tech offensive onslaught that tallied 17 hits in the win over the Falcons (1-2), just hours after Air Force knocked off LSU 6-5.

“We swung the bats really well, and we know we have a chance to a good offensive team,” said Burroughs. “The first time through line-up we were jumpy and jittery, but we settled down. We got a lot of big two out hits and (two out) RBI. We had good at bats most of the game.

“But the thing I’m most proud about was no errors. We haven’t been on the field in over a week (due to the weather). We talk about dominating the average plays, and I’m very proud of our guys for doing just that today.”

McConnell added three hits, including a double and a home run, while scoring four times and driving in two and Netterville blasted a three-run shot in a 7-run fourth inning that saw the Bulldogs blow open the game.

Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year Parker Bates added two hits, three runs, and two RBI while Netterville and Phil Matulia each recorded multi-hit performances.

Tech scored runs in six of the nine innings including posting crooked numbers in five of the frames.

While the Bulldog bats were firing on all cylinders, so were the arms. Jonathan Fincher (1-0) got the start and picked up the win, tossing five innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks, and striking out a career-high tying 10 batters.

Cade Hodges (1K), Landon Tomkins (1K), Tanner Knight (2Ks) and Bryce Fagan (1H, 2Ks) combined to retire 12 of the 13 Air Force batters they faced over the final four innings of action.

“Sixteen K’s over two walks; that will give you a chance to win against anybody on any day,” said Burroughs. “I thought Fincher was great out of the gate. And every reliever was really, really good. Some of those guys have been scuffling in scrimmages, so I was glad to see them pitch so well. I thought the biggest surprise was how our relievers attacked the strike zone like they did.”

VOLLEYBALL: The Lady Techsters held off a Southern Miss rally for a first-set win Sunday at the Thomas Assembly Center, but the Golden Eagles then won three straight sets to prevail (22-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-19).

Elena Takova registered eight kills, while Marie-Helene Verlinden added seven kills and Carter Mirich and Elizabeth Sandoval six kills to lead the Lady Techsters. Abigail Hildenbrand totaled 29 assists and 15 digs while Alyssa Zucco led Tech with 22 digs.

The Lady Techsters honored eight seniors following Sunday’s match in Verlinden, Mirich, Molly Watkins, Takova, Emily Boylan, Zucco, Natalie Honore, and Hildenbrand.

Tech and Southern Miss will play again today at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

INDOOR TRACK & FIELD: Louisiana Tech competed in Birmingham at the Conference USA championships with a number of student-athletes scoring.

On the women’s side, Claudasha Watson (60m, 7.59) and Sydney Anderson (high jump, 1.69m) both registered third place finishes in their respective events while Rhea Thompson finished fifth in both the shot put (14.27m) and weight throw (18.08m).

Johannon Murray was sixth in the pentathlon (3,382 points), highlighted by a first in the 60 meter hurdles. Jada Branch finished seventh in the open 400m in 58.49.

The Lady Techsters 4×400 relay team of Taylor Shaw, Branch, Makayla Edwards, and Shanique Masters) ran sixth in 3:52.86.

On the men’s side, Johnie Jean-Jaques (shot put, 15.85m) and Murphy Bavinga (triple jump, 14.75m) led the way with fourth place finishes.

A pair of fifths came from Seth Boullion in the 400m (48.68) and Colin Butler in the long jump (7.08m). Nolan Walker placed sixth in the 60 hurdles (8.25) while Mason Melancon was seventh in the 60 dash (6.96). Javion Canna came in eighth in the triple jump (13.20m).

The Bulldog 4×400 relay team of Boullion, Melancon, Walker and Gerard Sapena placed fourth (3:20.65). The men’s distance medley relay team of Mason Youberg, Boullion, Josiah Perez and Austin Ballow placed sixth in 10:24.44.

Photos: courtesy Jonathan Mailhes

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