Dogs, Techsters pick up Tuesday wins

Jorge Corona was 4-for-5 at the plate to lead LA Tech to a 14-4 win over Sacramento State Tuesday.

Courtesy of LA Tech Athletics Communications

Bulldogs 14, Sacramento State 4 (8 innings)

A seven-run fourth inning punctuated by three homers, and a solid start by Louisiana Tech righthander Reed Smith – one run on three hits, five strikeouts and no walks through five innings – was too much for visiting Sacramento State as Tech run-ruled the Hornets 14-4 in eight innings in a non-conference matchup on a cool and mild Tuesday night before 1,957 at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.

The Bulldogs, 13-12, grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first when Dalton Davis walked and scored when catcher Jorge Corona hit a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center field, the second consecutive game in which Corona has been responsible for Tech’s first two runs on a homer.

It would not be Corona’s or Tech’s final homer of the night.

Tech chased Hornet starter Zach Gagnon (1-1), making his eighth appearance and second start of the season, in the fateful fourth after he gave up a leadoff double to Adarius Myers and a single to Walker Burchfield. Tech third baseman Logan McCleod greeted Hornet reliever Tyler Stewart by shooting an 0-2 pitch between third and short to score Myers.

After the next two batters were retired, Tech’s lead went from 3-1 to 9-1 as Philip Matulia hit a three-run homer, Davis walked again and was knocked in by a Corona homer again, and Brody Drost scorched a solo shot to make it back-to-back home runs.

Tech added three in the sixth and pushed the run differential to 10 in the eighth on doubles by Myers and Birchfield and an RBI single by McLeod.

“I thought we played really good; everybody was locked in,” Tech coach Lane Burroughs said. “I told the guys before the game that it’s time to make our move. This is where the men are separated from the boys. We’ve won three of our last four; I’m proud of the way we played tonight.”

Smith, 1-2, made his 11th appearance and fifth start of the season. After solid efforts in late February against BYU and Nicholls State, the junior from Lufkin, Texas had labored in his past four outings – but not Tuesday.

“Reed was outstanding,” Burroughs said. “Five innings. Five punches. No walks. Three of our last four games, we’ve gotten good starts, and we’ve won all three of those.”

Corona was 4-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored, McLeod was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, Burchfield was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, and Davis was 2-for-2, walked three times and scored three times. Matulia knocked in three runs with his fourth-inning homer and scored twice.

Sacramento State, 12-12, a familiar Tech foe long ago when both teams played in the WAC, dropped two of three at Abilene Christian last weekend and sandwiched in the Tech game before playing another WAC opponent, Stephen F. Austin, this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile Tech welcomes Conference-USA’s Dallas Baptist, 17-8 and 4-2, to The Love Shack for a 6 p.m. game Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

“It gets real now,” Burroughs said. “We’re heading into the third weekend of conference play and we haven’t played that well. But we’ve gotta look at the positives, look at the big picture; were 3-3 and tonight played to win instead of playing not to lose, which we’ve done at times this year. This is when we need to make our move. It’s time.”


Lady Techsters 5, Northwestern State 1

Solid pitching performances and home runs from Jordyn Manning and Katelin Cooper lifted the Louisiana Tech Softball team to a 5-1 win over Northwestern State on Tuesday night at Lady Demon Diamond in Natchitoches.

“Allie (Floyd) really grinded there late to keep Northwestern State from doing damage,” said Tech head coach Josh Taylor. “I am really proud of how she competed tonight being able to get out of a tough situation. We made some big plays late and the home runs that we got played a huge role. Jordyn Manning and Katelin Cooper’s home runs were big for us.”

Tech got on the board early with Manning’s three-run home run to left field in the second inning. Cooper then followed with a solo shot in the third to left centerfield. Brooke Diaz led Tech at the plate with two hits on the night.

Emma Hutchinson made her eighth start of the season for LA Tech and was impressive, throwing three scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out one.

Sierra Sacco drew a leadoff walk to start the contest, increasing her reached-base streak to 14 games. The Sophomore would be the lone baserunner of the inning for Tech.

Hutchinson threw a scoreless frame in the bottom of the first, highlighted by a strikeout and Diaz catching her eighth runner this season trying to steal by throwing out a Lady Demon at second.

Kylie Neel led off the second inning with a walk followed by a single by Diaz. One out later, Manning hit a mammoth shot to left field to give LA Tech a 3-0 lead. The home run was Manning’s fourth of the season to put her in the team lead.

Hutchinson kept the Lady Demons at bay with another scoreless inning in the bottom half, her only blemish being a double to centerfield.

In the top of the third, Cooper joined Manning in the team lead with a solo home run to left centerfield to increase the Lady Techsters lead to 4-0. The solo shot was Cooper’s fourth round-tripper this year.

Hutchinson started the bottom of the third by retiring Ashlyn Walker on a pop-up to Amanda Gonzalez to cap a 13-pitch at-bat.

Diaz was hit by a pitch and Manning walked in the fourth inning, but they would be left stranded as the Lady Demons got out of the inning without damage.

Floyd relived Hutchinson in the bottom of the fourth, pitching a perfect inning capped by a strikeout in which she froze the Northwestern State batter with a nasty change up.

Free passes issued to KB Briley and Neel started things off in the top of the fifth. Diaz stepped to the plate with two outs and doubled down the left field line to bring home Briley to make it 5-0, Lady Techsters.

A throwing error and a walk put runners on first and second for Northwestern State to start the bottom of the fifth. However, Floyd did not let them advance further as she retired the next three Lady Demons courtesy of a strikeout, fielders choice and a flyout.

Aleya Hill just missed a solo home run in the top of the sixth, flying out to the warning track in dead centerfield.

Northwestern State loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with one out. The Lady Demons got a run to cut the Tech lead to 5-1, but that is all they would get as Floyd was able to minimize the damage and get out of the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Cooper and Briley drew back-to-back walks with one out and were stranded to end the inning.

Northwestern State put the first two batters on in the bottom of the seventh, but Floyd was unfazed as she retired three consecutive batters for her third win of the season