No. 14 Bulldogs fall to No. 20 Old Dominion

Hunter Wells went 3-for-5 at the plate for Louisiana Tech Thursday night with two runs batted in. (Photo courtesy LA Tech Athletics Communications)

LA Tech Athletics Communications

A string of seven unanswered runs from the top of the fifth to the top of the eighth helped Old Dominion pull away from the Bulldogs late as Louisiana Tech dropped the opener of the series 10-8 on Thursday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

After jumping ahead 7-3 behind a four-run fourth frame, the Bulldogs allowed four runs to Old Dominion (37-14) in the top of the fifth to even the score at 7-7. The two teams traded zeroes in the sixth and seventh before three runs in the top of the eighth put ODU in the lead for good. An RBI single from Thomas Wheeler broke the deadlock before a sacrifice fly and an RBI single later in the frame stretched ODU’s lead to 10-7.

LA Tech (36-15) trimmed Old Dominion’s lead to 10-8 in the bottom of the eighth behind designated hitter Steele Netterville’s RBI single. Netterville’s infield base hit scored centerfielder Parker Bates and put a pair of runners on with two outs in the inning. ODU pitcher Jason Hartline was able to end the Bulldog threat, however, when he induced a groundout to the first baseman.

In the bottom of the ninth, two of the first three Bulldogs reached to put pressure on ODU closer Noah Dean. Catcher Jorge Corona reached via an HBP before leadoff batter Taylor Young battled back from a 1-2 count to work a one-out walk. With runners on first and second, Dean was able to retire the next two batters to end the ballgame, picking up his eighth save of the season. The Bulldogs left 13 runners on base in Thursday night’s game.

Third baseman Hunter Wells, who finished the night 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored, put the Bulldogs on the board first with an RBI single to left field in the opening frame. A wild pitch and then a sacrifice fly from Manny Garcia helped drive in Tech’s second and third runs of the first inning.

After ODU tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth, the Bulldogs erupted for a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth.

After a ground-ball double play helped the Bulldogs take a 4-3 lead, Wells once registered an RBI single to extend Tech’s advantage to 5-3. An RBI single from Garcia and a bases-loaded walk from Netterville made it 7-3 after four.

Seven of nine Bulldogs in the starting lineup tallied a base hit, including Wells and Bates each posting multi-hit performances. Bates also notched a pair of walks and a team-high three runs scored on the night.

Both teams reached double-digit hit totals and had at least six pitchers throw in the 4:16 contest.

The Bulldogs will conclude their regular season schedule in the series finale against the Monarchs starting at 6 p.m. today at the Love Shack.

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