LA Tech Athletics weekend wrap-up

Phil Matulia (12) hit a pair of home runs and had seven RBI to help the Bulldogs take a 3-game series from Nicholls State. (Photo by Kelsey Chanler)

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletic Communications and Staff Reports

Bulldogs 10, Nicholls State 1

Bulldogs 3, Nicholls State 2

Nicholls State 8, Bulldogs 0

Louisiana Tech received three solid starts on the mound from Jonathan Fincher, Rawley Hector and Reed Smith as the Bulldogs took two out of three games at JC Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

Fincher and Hector each picked up wins while Smith was Sunday’s tough-luck loser.

Phil Matulia was 4-for-5 with a home run and 5 RBI in Friday’s 10-1 win by the Bulldogs as Fincher tossed 7.0 innings, allowing just a leadoff home run in the first inning.

Matulia and Jorge Corona came up big at the plate in Saturday’s pitcher’s duel. Matulia tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning with a two-run shot and Corona followed with a solo blast. Hector pitched 6.0 strong innings while Landon Tompkins and Ethan Bates tossed the final 3.0 scoreless frames.

“Clubs that are standing at the end of the year, they go for the kill tomorrow,” said Burroughs following Saturday’s win. “Average teams are satisfied with two wins and winning the series, and that’s why we call Sunday ‘Toughness Sunday.'”

Sunday saw a solid start by Smith go for naught as the Bulldogs were blanked at the plate in the loss.

“Don’t want to take anything away from them, but we just didn’t make any adjustments,” said Burroughs  following Sunday’s loss. “I’m just disappointed in our lack of fight at home plate. I don’t think we fought very hard. And overall, we had a lack of focus. It’s Sunday and on Sunday, you gotta bring it. You’ve gotta protect your home and you can’t come out and lay an egg, and that’s what we did. We got beat in every phase.”

Tech (4-3) travels to Oxford to face reigning national champion Ole Miss Tuesday and Wednesday.


Lady Techsters 7, Tulsa 4

Mississippi State 8, Lady Techsters 4

Lady Techsters 7, Furman 3

South Alabama 2, Lady Techsters 0

The Lady Techsters (9-5) split four games in Mobile over the weekend, recording wins over Tulsa and Furman while falling to Mississippi State and South Alabama.

Freshman Allie Floyd and junior Emma Hutchinson each picked up wins in the circle while Floyd was the tough-luck loser in a 2-0 decision to South Alabama on Sunday. Mary Martinez continued to pitch well in relief, seeing action in three of the four games over the weekend.

Brooke Diaz, Kylie Neel, Amanda Gonzalez and Katelin Cooper each recorded multi-hit games in the win over Tulsa, while Floyd picked up the win and Martinez earned her third save of the season.

Jordyn Manning hit her second home run of the year while Caroline Easom and Diaz each recorded multi-hit efforts in the loss to the SEC Bulldogs.

“We saw a lot of real positive adjustments being made today offensively,” head coach Josh Taylor said. “This team continues to improve from week to week and we are confident that we will be where we want to be when Conference USA play begins.”

In Sunday’s win over Furman, Hutchinson picked up the win with 5.0 strong innings in the circle. Easom and Neel each produced multi-hit efforts and Cooper had two RBI.

Floyd’s second strong outing of the weekend came up short Sunday as Tech recorded only three hits in the 2-0 loss to South Alabama.

Tech hosts Central Arkansas Wednesday at 6 p.m.


Middle Tennessee 61, Lady Techsters 59

Louisiana Tech women’s basketball team took No. 25 Middle Tennessee down to the wire after erasing a nine-point third-quarter deficit but fell 61-59 to the Blue Raiders in the final seconds Saturday afternoon.

Three Lady Techsters scored in double figures, led by Keiunna Walker with 19 points and three rebounds. Anna Larr Roberson and Robyn Lee scored 14 each.

“I thought this was a great college women’s basketball game,” said Tech head coach Brooke Stoehr. “Middle Tennessee is ranked for a reason, and they don’t beat themselves. Give them credit for making plays down the stretch. It hurt us that we had two starters sit most of the game with foul trouble, and we took some tough shots, making scoring difficult.

“I thought this was a great college women’s basketball game. Middle Tennessee is ranked for a reason, and they don’t beat themselves. Give them credit for making plays down the stretch. It hurt us that we had two starters sit most of the game with foul trouble, and we took some tough shots, making scoring difficult.”

In the first, Jaylan Gregory scored the first nine points for Middle Tennessee (23-4, 16-2 C-USA) to take a 9-2 lead, but LA Tech (17-11, 10-8 C-USA) responded with an 8-0 run capped off by Lee’s first three-pointer of the season to grab their first lead of the day, 10-9. The Blue Raiders would finish the quarter with a mini 6-2 spurt to grab a 15-12 lead after one.

In the second, with Walker and Roberson sitting on the bench with two fouls a piece, Middle Tennessee built a seven-point lead (19-12), but four quick points from LA Tech’s bench would cut the lead to three. Tech and Middle Tennessee would trade three-pointers during the middle of the stanza, but the Blue Raiders would scratch across the final three points of the half to take a 30-24 lead into the break.

Middle Tennessee built their largest lead of the game at nine (38-29), but Tech found some offensive flow over the final five minutes of the third quarter and used a 12-4 run to bring the game to one (42-41) off a Lee old-fashioned three-point play in the final seconds of the third.

After Tech tied the game on three separate occasions in the fourth, the Techsters found their first lead since early in the first quarter off a Lee driving layup at 51-49 with 3:59 left to play. However, the Blue Raiders regained the lead off a Kseniya Malashka and-one with 2:07 remaining (56-55).

After Roberson hit two free throws, Middle Tennessee hit a three to take a 59-57 lead with 1:16 left. Two Walker free-throws would tie the game again at 59, but Malashka would hit a turn-around jumper with three seconds remaining and block Tech’s final attempt to snap the Techsters’ five-game win streak.


Middle Tennessee 63, Bulldogs 49

Louisiana Tech was held to its season low in scoring as the Bulldogs fell, 63-49, to Middle Tennessee on Saturday afternoon inside the Murphy Center.

It was much of the same for LA Tech (13-16, 6-12 C-USA) who again faced a large deficit that they could not overcome.  And that deficit came in the first half as the Blue Raiders erupted for 26-8 run to close out the stanza with a 20-point advantage.

“My thoughts today are very similar to my thoughts on a lot of our games,” said head coach Talvin Hester. “We have to learn and play and fight for 40 minutes. At the end of the day, we have spurts where we are great. We also have spurts where we are not very good. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot in the first half with bad shot selection. And then we turned it around. I put a lineup out there that fought and did good things for us.”

The Bulldogs made just eight field and went 1-of-12 from beyond the arc.  Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee (18-11, 11-7 C-USA) had its way offensively, shooting 50 percent from the field and sinking seven triples.

MTSU continued to stretch out its lead in the second half as well, going up 57-28 after Justin Bufford hit his third three-pointer of the game with 10:50 to go.

LA Tech had complete the control the rest of the game, limiting the Blue Raiders to just one made field goal for the remainder.  The Bulldogs outscored the home team, 21-6, to close out the game, but it was too late, too late.

Isaiah Crawford battled his way to a game-high 17 points to go along with nine rebounds.  Kenny Hunter also provided a quality outing, registering his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 15 boards.

LA Tech was also held to a season low in field goal percentage at 27.5 percent as well as a season-low three three-pointers.  MTSU shot 40.4 percent for the game, getting double-digit points from three Blue Raiders including Elias King who had 13.