April 5, 2018
SAN ANTONIO - The Louisiana Tech baseball team will open up its fourth Conference USA series of the season this weekend, with a three-game set against the UTSA Roadrunners, beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m.
LA Tech (22-9, 7-2 C-USA) enters the weekend in sole possession of first place in the league standings. The Bulldogs are off to one of their stronger starts in league play, as the team has won each of its first three conference series for the first time since the 1992 season.
Tech is coming off a tough 2-1 home loss to Little Rock, in which David Leal was the tough-luck loser, tossing his sixth quality start in his seventh appearance this season. Leal's ERA continues to sit below two at 1.65, and his 49.0 innings pitched are the most of any Bulldog.
The Bulldogs received more national accolades after their weekend series win over FIU. D1 Baseball ranked Tech among its top-25, bringing them into the nationally-recognized poll at 22nd. Tech continues to receive votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and is ranked 28th among the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll.
UTSA (15-11, 5-3 C-USA) also comes into this weekend as one of the hotter teams in C-USA. The Roadrunners have won eight of their last nine games, most recently taking care of Texas State, 5-3, on Tuesday evening.
Last season, UTSA took two of three from Tech in Ruston. All time, the Roadrunners own a 12-6 advantage in the series between the two sides. Tech has won five of the last eight meetings, dating back to 2015.
Hunter Wells and Dalton Skelton have continued to cause havoc at the top of the Tech lineup. The pair of switch hitters both rank in the top-five among league leaders with hits (Wells-43, T-3rd, Skelton-42, T-5th). Wells leads the Bulldogs with a .333 average, while Skelton just behind, hitting .328 for the year.
Tanner Huddleston has taken the team lead in the RBI department, as the Jones County Junior College transfer drove home his 26th run on Wednesday. That number is tied for sixth most among league leaders.
On the basepaths, Mason Mallard continues to pace the Bulldogs, who rank second in the league with 39 acts of thievery this season. Mallard has yet to be caught on 14 stolen base attempts, giving him the unique distinction of the most stolen bases without being called out among any player in the nation.
Tech's pitching staff has continued to carry its weight, as its 2.26 season ERA leads C-USA and ranks third nationally. UTSA's pitching staff has been almost as impressive to this point of the year, posting a 3.39 team ERA, good for second-best among conference teams.
The Bulldogs are slated to send their normal weekend rotation in RHP Matt Miller (3-1, 2.27 ERA, 43.2 IP, 47 K, 7 BB), LHP Logan Robbins (6-0, 2.91 ERA, 43.1 IP. 27 K, 8 BB) and Logan Bailey (4-1, 2.11 ERA, 38.1 IP, 31 K, 9 BB) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Roadrunners are scheduled to pitch RHP Karen Patel (2-1, 2.76 ERA, 32.2 IP, 35 K, 9 BB), LHP Steven Dressler (4-1, 2.56 ERA, 45.2 IP, 34 K, 16 BB) and RHP Chance Kirby (2-3, 4.01 ERA, 24.2 IP, 27 K, 11 BB) in that order.
All three games will be broadcast live on SportsTalk 97.7 and through the LA Tech X Mobile App with Dave Nitz on the call. All conference games can also be streamed live through CUSA.tv (subscription required). Be sure to follow @LATechBSB on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for highlights, breaking news and in-game updates for the Diamond 'Dogs.