Rested Diamond ‘Dogs take No. 16 ranking, C-USA lead to Rice

Assistant coach Mitch Gaspard, former head coach at NSU and Alabama, confers with the Bulldog defense. (Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications)

Staff Writer

Assistant coach Mitch Gaspard, former head coach at NSU and Alabama, confers with the Bulldog defense, (Photo courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications)

HOUSTON – After a five-day layoff following last Saturday’s series-clinching 6-0 win over UAB, the 16th ranked Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will hit the road for a four-game weekend Conference USA baseball series against the Rice Owls.

Today’s game is set for 6 p.m. while Saturday’s twinbill will start at 1 p.m. Sunday’s series finale is also set for 1 p.m.

Tech (20-7, 6-2 C-USA) sits atop the West Division standings after two weekends of league play, the Bulldogs taking three out of four against Southern Miss and Alabama-Birmingham. The Bulldogs continue to be lead in the circle by arguably the strongest starting rotation in C-USA and at the plate by one of the top hitting teams in the league.

Although Rice (13-14-1, 2-5-1) has struggled at times this year, Bulldog skipper Lane Burroughs knows his team is in for a fight at Reckling Park.

“Their tradition and history … they have a national champions banner hanging at their field,” said Burroughs. “Instant respect. We can go down the list of players that played there. Multiple, multiple big leaguers.

“They have older hitters, too. They have a good offensive club. You know they are going to have good arms. It’s not always who you play, it’s when you play them. So much respect for Rice.”

The Owls have won just two out of eight games during the opening two weekends of league play against UTSA and Middle Tennessee. However, Burroughs expects nothing but a tough, competitive four-game series.

“I think everyone has a run in them during the year,” Burroughs said. “They can reach for that history and tradition. It’s Rice. We are at their park. They have good players and they are coached very well.”

It will mark the first time the Bulldogs have been to Houston since the series in 2019 that came less than 48 hours after the EF3 tornado destroyed JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

“The last time we were there, we got swept,” Burroughs said. “It was a disaster. It was two days after the tornado. It will be good to go back down there. The last time we were down there, it did not go our way.

“Honestly we didn’t play that bad. We had an opportunity to win every game. You look back at it and there was a lot going on. It was a mentally draining weekend. Hopefully we can reverse that this weekend and get off on a good foot and win Friday night.”

Jonathan Fincher (5-0, 1.62 ERA), Ryan Jennings (2-2, 4.72 ERA), Cade Gibson (2-2, 4.06 ERA) and Jarret Whorff (5-1, 2.49 ERA) will head to the mound as the starting rotation in this weekend’s series.

All four games can be heard on the LA Tech Sports Radio Network with Dave Nitz providing the call of the action. Fans can also watch the games streamed live through a subscription to CUSA.tv.


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