Baseball fans dig the long ball.
On Thursday night at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers did not.
No. 17 ranked Louisiana Tech (18-6, 4-1 Conference USA) hit four home runs -– three in a nine-run second inning –- to cruise past UAB 16-1 in the first of a four-game C-USA series in Ruston. The contest was called after seven innings due the league’s 10-run rule in conference games.
Tech and UAB will play a doubleheader today with the first pitch slated for 2 p.m. The series finale is at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I know the arms we are facing tomorrow and they are good,” said Diamond ‘Dogs coach Lane Burroughs. “They are their top two guys.”
The UAB arms Thursday night were cannon fodder. The Bulldogs blasted away.
Kent Hasler started the second inning party with a three-run bomb, his first of the year.
Hunter Wells followed with a three-run shot, his fifth of the season.
After Manny Garcia crushed a two-run shot -– his fourth –- these Bulldogs had a 9-0 lead, dousing any fire coming from these dragons.
“You knew early it was going to be a good hitters night,” Burroughs said. “Because they played a doubleheader last Friday night and it was a shortened week, they were throwing their No. 3 at us. We knew we needed to get some runs and give (Jonathan) Fincher some support. You get a nine spot in one inning with Fincher on the mound, it’s going to be tough sledding for the other team.”
Tech strung eight straight hits together at one point in the second inning, including three home runs and two doubles, chasing UAB starter Carson Knight from the game. The Bulldogs welcomed back Cole McConnell and Jorge Corona to the lineup after the duo had missed a string of games recently. Corona was 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the game.
“It was good to have Corona and McConnell in the lineup,” Burroughs said. “They just lengthen our lineup. McConnell didn’t have a great night but to the man we know he is one of our better hitters. He can do so many things. Corona is a really, really good hitter. He is an offensive player. He gives us that extra right-handed guy who can split a gap and drive it out of the yard. I thought his at bats were outstanding tonight. Not much to say. It was an offensive night, and we put up some runs and Fincher did what he does.”
Fincher (5-0) picked up his fifth win of the season, throwing 7.0 innings and allowing one run on five hits and no walks while striking out five.
“He attacks the strike zone with multiple pitches and when you do that you will have a chance to win,” Burroughs said.
Adarius Myers added a three-run home run for Tech in the sixth inning, his first of the season. Tech banged out 15 hits, including three by Parker Bates and two each by Wells, Corona, Hasler and Alex Ray.