Bulldogs, Tigers to tango in midweek showdown

Photo of LA Tech starting pitcher Jarret Whorff by ELISE BORDLEE

Staff report

Louisiana Tech made the long journey back to its home state from Miami, but they are making a pit stop in Baton Rouge before heading home for their final Conference USA series.

The Bulldogs will face off against in-state foe LSU on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Alex Box Stadium.

The matchup ends a stretch of 26 straight league games and is the first midweek contest since late March. It is a rare opportunity for a non-conference resume builder with LA Tech sitting at No. 24 in the RPI and LSU at No. 22.

It is also a rare second chance for the ‘Dogs to knock off the Tigers (first time playing twice in the same season since 1997). They came close in the second game of the regular season, up 6-2 going into the bottom of the sixth, but LSU plated 14 runs in the span of three innings to take the 17-6 victory.

A lot has changed since that Feb. 22 matchup for both teams.

“It is a big RPI game for both teams,” said head coach Lane Burroughs. “LSU is playing a lot better. Their freshmen are seasoned now, and anytime you walk into that ballpark you better be ready to go. I know our guys will be ready to go.”

It could have been a blessing in disguise, playing just two of the four games against FIU. After seven straight weekends of intense four-game series in conference, a small break because of the heavy rains in South Beach could help for the stretch run into postseason.

“I thought Sunday we could have got one game in, but it would have been a sloppy game and we are heading down the home stretch navigating toward the end of the year,” said Burroughs. “I hope we have got a lot of postseason ball in front of us. It was unfortunate we did not get to play, but we cannot control it. We will move on. There is a lot to play for still.”

Coach Burroughs said in his weekly press conference on Monday that Jarret Whorff will get the start for the Bulldogs. The usual Sunday starter anchors the squad with eight pitching victories.

The right-hander will try to channel some of that pitching magic he displayed against another SEC school this season. He was on the bump to help power the ‘Dogs to a 2-0 shutout of No. 1-ranked Arkansas, throwing a two-hit shutout.

LSU will counter with Will Hellmers. The freshman has not allowed an earned run over his last four pitching appearances.

Fans can watch the in-state battle on the WatchESPN app through SEC Network+. They can also listen to the Voice of the Bulldogs Dave Nitz on KNBB 97.7 FM or the LA Tech Athletics app.

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