Diamond Dogs host BYU in busy weekend of LA Tech Athletics

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications

BYU at Bulldogs (Baseball)

The Louisiana Tech Baseball team opens up the highly anticipated 2023 season this weekend as they host BYU in a four-game series starting with a 6 p.m. first pitch tonight at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

The two programs will play a Saturday doubleheader at 2 p.m. and a single game Monday at 6 p.m. Every game except for Saturday’s first game of the DH will be on 97.7 FM while all four games can be heard on the LA Tech Athletics app and seen through a subscription to CUSA.tv.

LA Tech heads into the new season coming off back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances as well as back-to-back C-USA championships (2021 West Division champs and 2022 Tournament champs).

The preseason Conference USA favorites return a healthy dose off last year’s 43-win team, including preseason C-USA Pitcher of the Year Jonathan Fincher.  The lefty from Shreveport has 34 career starts under his belt, having produced a 16-5 record on the mound over the last two seasons. \

Fincher was also one of 16 players voted to the preseason All-Conference USA team along with teammates Jorge Corona.  The junior catcher from Miami has started 61 career games behind the plate and finished last season with a team-best 16 home runs while batting .281.

Other key returners include center fielder Cole McConnell who was a First Team All-Conference USA selection last season after breaking the LA Tech single-season record for most RBIs with 76.  There is also outfielder/first baseman Philip Matulia and outfielder Adarius Myers who have combined to play 254 career games at LA Tech.\

BYU, guided by first-year head coach Trent Pratt, returns a total of 20 players from a squad that collected a 33-21 overall record while also advancing to the 2022 WCC Tournament.  Three Cougars – outfielder Cole Gambill, pitcher Jack Sterner, and infielder Ozzie Pratt – were selected to the 2023 All-WCC preseason team.

BYU was picked to finish third in the WCC preseason poll behind Gonzaga and San Diego.  Sterner is projected to be one of the four starters for the Cougars in this first series in Ruston.  The right-hander started 13 games last season, registering 61 strikeouts. 

This will be the first ever meeting between LA Tech and BYU.  The Bulldogs are 4-3 all-time against teams from the West Coast Conference.  They last played a WCC school in 2018 when they split a four-game series at Pepperdine.


Lady Techsters at Mardi Gras Mambo (Softball)

The Louisiana Tech Softball team will look get back in the win column this weekend when they travel to Youngsville to play five games in three days at the Mardi Gras Mambo, taking on the likes of Toledo, Manhattan, St. Thomas, Florida A&M and Gardner-Webb at the Youngsville Sports Complex..

Tech (3-1) will face Toledo (2 p.m.) and Manhattan (4 p.m.) Friday and then play St. Thomas (3 p.m.) and Florida A&M (5 p.m.) on Saturday. The Lady Techsters will wrap up action Sunday vs. Gardner-Webb (11 a.m.).

“We are looking forward to competing at the Mardi Gras Mambo,” said Josh Taylor. “Getting off to a good start offensively will be vital and depth will come into play a little more this weekend as we play five games in three days. We are definitely more prepared this year for a five game-stretch than in years past with a pitching staff that is six deep.”

LA Tech comes into the Mardi Gras Mambo with a 3-1 record in head coach Josh Taylor’s second season at the helm. Tech suffered a 5-4 walk-off loss at Southeastern on Wednesday in Hammond.

This will be the second-straight appearance in the Mardi Gras Mambo for Tech. Last year the Lady Techsters went 3-2 with wins over St. Thomas (10-2), Eastern Illinois (10-3) and Lipscomb (3-0) while losing to Portland State (1-4) and Alabama (0-2).


Tech at Mid-Winter Invitational (Bowling)

The Louisiana Tech women’s bowling team heads up north to compete in the Arkansas State-hosted Mid-Winter Invitational Feb. 17-19 in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

The Invitational follows a standard three-day, 13-match format. Over the three days, the 17 teams will compete in five Baker matches starting Friday, and then there will be five traditional matches on Saturday. Teams will then begin bracket play based on total pinfall from the first two days for three best-of-seven Baker matches on Sunday to determine a champion.

The Lady Techsters come into the weekend after finishing 3rd at their Lady Techsters Classic last weekend in Dallas. Tech totaled 13,443 pins on the weekend with a 193.0 average. Danielle Jedlicki (1,491 total pins; 213.0 average) and Lindsay Manning (1,468 total pins; 209.71 average) both earned a spot on the All-Tournament team.