April 20, 2018
BECKLEY, W. Va. - On the heels of a 15-2 drubbing of in-state foe, UL-Lafayette, the Louisiana Tech baseball team will head north for a weekend road series with Marshall, who most recently took a pair of midweek contests over Ohio.
LA Tech (26-13, 10-5 C-USA) dropped its first weekend series of the year last weekend, falling in two of three to Charlotte. However, the team responded in a big way, handing the Ragin' Cajuns their most lopsided home loss since 2012 (UL-Monroe, 17-0). The Bulldog offense surged to a season best in runs (15) and hits (17), while taking the fourth of the previous five meetings over the Ragin' Cajuns.
Mason Robinson remained locked in at the plate, and broke out for a career day in Lafayette. The junior right fielder set new career highs in both hits (four) and RBI (five), while hitting for Tech's second cycle this season (Hunter Wells vs. UTSA on April 8). Robinson has upped his batting average to .277 for the season, and in his last four games, is hitting 10-for-17 (.588) with eight RBI and five extra-base hits.
Tech midweek starter David Leal (3-2) was able to get some run support in the ULL contest, after receiving just two runs total in his previous two starts. The 6'-5" southpaw went seven innings, scattering just three hits and striking out six. Leal has now pitched at least six innings in eight of his nine starts in 2018.
For the season, Tech's team ERA sits at 2.49, the second lowest mark in the nation, and the lowest among Conference USA teams. The Bulldog pitching staff now leads the league in ERA (2.49), innings pitched (353.2), runs allowed (126), earned runs (98) and home runs allowed (16). Its opposing batting average of .233 is second best, while its 313 strikeouts are fourth.
Entering the weekend, Tech sits in a great position, still among the upper echelon of the C-USA standings. The Bulldogs are a half game back of second-place Southern Miss, and just one game out of first-place Florida Atlantic.
The Bulldogs are second in the league with a .971 fielding percentage, committing just 44 errors on a conference-most 1,473 chances. The team has also turned the second-most double plays in the conference with 31 twin-killings this season.
Freshman Taylor Young has been on a walking tear lately, consistently putting together patient at-bats, and setting the table for the top of the Tech lineup. In his last seven games, Young has walked 11 times, while striking out just once. His 26 free passes have shot him up the conference leaderboards to sixth in the walks category, while his on-base percentage of .446 leads the team.
Mason Mallard continues his red-hot season of swiping bases. The redshirt junior has upped his total to 18 stolen bags this season (most in Conference USA), but most impressively is the fact that Mallard has yet to be caught stealing this year (perfect 18-for-18). In fact, Mallard has the second-most stolen bases without being caught among all of college baseball (first is Texas Tech's Gabe Holt, 19-for-19).
Tech is slated to throw its normal rotation of RHP Matt Miller (3-2, 3.33 ERA, 51.1 IP, 50 K, 12 BB), LHP Logan Robbins (6-0, 3.25 ERA, 55.1 IP, 29 K, 11 BB) and LHP Logan Bailey (6-1, 1.89 ERA, 52.1 IP, 40 K, 11 BB), while Marshall will counter with RHP Brad O'Connor (3-3, 4.07 ERA, 34.1 IP, 24 K, 10 BB), LHP Joshua Shapiro (2-2, 3.86 ERA, 32.2 IP, 28 K, 17 BB) and RHP Zac McNeel (1-2, 6.49 ERA, 26.1 IP, 21 K, 13 BB).
Game one is set for Friday at 4 p.m. CT, while games two and three will take place at 1 p.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.