After a couple of tough midweek losses to in-state foes, Louisiana Tech skipper Lane Burroughs simplified things for his Bulldog baseball team late last week in practice.
It wasn’t about technique. Nor philosophy. Nor X’s and O’s.
Nope. It was about swagger.
“I felt like we had lost our edge and swagger and that chip on our shoulder the last few games,” said Burroughs, who saw his team complete a three-game sweep over McNeese Sunday on J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park. “That’s what our theme was in practice last Wednesday and Thursday; to get our edge back.”
Evidently it worked. Tech (7-3) outscored the Cowboys 29-7 over the three-game series, including a 14-4 victory Sunday afternoon.
“I felt like we played with some intensity and with that edge this weekend,” said Burroughs. “I felt like Friday might was our most complete game of the year. We got into a tough scrap on Saturday. You have to win those tights ones if you want to be a good club. We got the big hits late and were able to close it out.
“(Sunday), we ran into trouble early and got out of it. Then put a five spot on the board in the first and never looked back. We played all weekend with that edge that got us here and that is what we are all about. I thought the dugout was energetic and alive.”
After opening the series with an 11-0 whitewashing against McNeese State on Friday night, Tech had to overcome a late deficit Saturday in a hard-fought 4-3 victory. The momentum of those two wins carried over to Sunday where Tech pounded out 18 hits in the 10-run victory.
It did not hurt the cause that these JunkYard Dogs finally got to play in their own stadium on their own campus with their own fans in the stands.
“It was amazing. Simply, amazing,” said Burroughs. “Having them in the stands this weekend made all the difference in the world. The stadium looked bigger. It was vibrant and alive. I can’t tell you how good it felt. Even with the restrictions we had it was a tremendously energetic crowd. It made all of the difference in the world to have those fans in the seats and have the atmosphere back at the Love Shack.”
Now winners of six of their last seven games and sporting a perfect 6-0 mark in their home park, Burroughs and Co. begin one of the most challenging stretches in the history of the Tech baseball program. Tech travels to ULM on Tuesday and then hosts No. 1 Arkansas in a three-game set next weekend in Ruston.
And if that’s not tough enough, Tech then hosts Ole Miss in a two-game set before traveling to Tulane for three more.
“We have a big game Tuesday night at ULM,” said Burroughs. “They have a really good club and are coached really well. We have not won a midweek game yet so we need to get back to performing well in the middle of the week. You do not want to look ahead but then we have the No. 1 ranked team in the country coming in here this weekend.
“It’s not too often you have the opportunity to host the No. 1 ranked team in the country in a three-game set. It will be buzzing, and we are excited about this entire stretch. We will see where we stack up.”
Photo: by Tom Morris