LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 19, 2017) – A rocky evening on the mound by Little Rock baseball allowed Louisiana Tech to seize the momentum and take the game by a score of 10-6 on Wednesday night at Gary Hogan Field.
The Trojans (14-23) allowed seven walks and three hit-by-pitches in addition to 11 hits by the Bulldogs (25-13).
“The three keys to winning are pitching, defense and timely hitting, and we went 0 for 3 in those areas tonight,” head coach Chris Curry said. “If you give Louisiana Tech’s offense 10 free bases via the walk or hit-by-pitch, they’re going to make you pay, and they did.”
Little Rock’s offense had nine hits for the night with five of those coming on extra-base knocks. The Trojans finished with four doubles and one home run.
“I think the extra-base hits are due to the emphasis of being aggressive,” Curry said. “We attacked the fastball when we got in a fastball count by putting our best swing on it. I think that’s what you saw tonight with guys being awarded for attacking and being aggressive in the strike zone.”
Cale Ridling made the most of his plate appearances as the redshirt freshman went 2 for 3 with two runs, an RBI and a walk. Nik Gifford had the other multiple-hit game for the Trojans as he went 2 for 5 with a run and advanced his reached-base streak to 14 games. Cameron Knight’s lone hit of the night was a good one as he blasted a solo homer to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Dalton Thomas walked twice and scored a run to up his reached-base streak to 13 games.
Louisiana Tech had four players with multiple hits for the night. Brent Diaz finished the game 2 for 4 with four RBIs, a home run and two runs. Jonathan Washman led the team with three hits and three runs while picking up an RBI and a walk. Dalton Skelton was 2 for 3 with two RBIs, and Raphael Gladu was 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a run.
The Bulldogs’ Kyle Griffen (2-1) took the win with 2.2 innings of relief work as he allowed one run on three hits and a walk. Kent Hasler earned his third save of the year with four strikeouts and one walk allowed in 2.1 innings. Louisiana Tech starter Matt Miller was chased off by the Trojans in his first start of the year as he gave up four runs on five hits and two walks. Little Rock’s Chandler Fidel (2-5) took the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in relief. Trojan starter Carter Brown took the no-decision as he threw 4.2 innings, struck out two and allowed five runs on three hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch.
LA Tech took the early lead with an RBI ground out by Jordan Washman in the top of the first inning.
Little Rock took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second with an RBI double by Ridling and an RBI single down the left field line by Christian Reyes.
The Bulldogs evened the game in the top of the third with an RBI single up the middle by Gladu.
The Trojans put up two runs for the second consecutive inning in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly by Knight and an RBI double by Zach Baker. Little Rock made it three straight innings with a run scored in the bottom of the fourth as Hunter Owens hit an RBI double to left.
Down 5-2, Louisiana Tech scored five runs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-5 lead. A sacrifice fly by Skelton, an RBI single by Gladu and a three-run homer by Diaz put the Bulldogs up by two. They scored at least one run over the next two innings to make it 10-5. Colby Hamilton walked with bases loaded in the top of the sixth before RBI singles by Jonathan Washam and Skelton in the top of the seventh.
Little Rock’s final run occurred in the bottom of the seventh on a solo shot to right field by Knight — his second of the season. The Trojans had the tying-run at the plate with the bases loaded and two outs, but a liner to first squashed what could have been a big inning.
Little Rock will return to Gary Hogan Field this weekend for a three-game series against Sun Belt West Division leader Louisiana. First pitched against the defending Sun Belt champions is scheduled for Friday night at 6 p.m.