Louisiana Tech's offense exploded for a nine-run sixth inning highlighted by a grand slam by Taylor Burch as the Bulldogs defeated CSU Bakersfield, 9-4, Sunday in the series finale at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston.
With a scoreless ball game through five innings, Tech (16-32, 4-17 WAC) batted around in the bottom half of the sixth inning and plated nine runs off eight hits on its way to a victory over the Roadrunners of CSU Bakersfield (31-18, 14-7 WAC). The nine runs proved enough as senior Trevor Petersen through his first complete game of the season and the second of his career to help lead the Bulldogs to a win.
"That was a good outing for Trevor, and when you score runs, it makes it a whole lot easier," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "Our offense finally came to life against a good pitching staff. Our guys are really competing and it was good to see our true character come out when times are tough. This group deserves better a better fate than they are getting right now, but I'm proud of our guys and they are going to keep fighting."
Petersen (3-4) earned the win after pitching a full nine innings and holding CSU Bakersfield to four runs – all earned – off nine hits, while striking out three. This was the longest outing of the season for the senior right hander and the second complete game of his career as a Bulldog.
Jonathan Montoya (3-3) started for the Roadrunners and was charged with the loss after allowing five runs – all earned – off six hits in 5.1 innings of work. James Barragan relieved Montoya in the sixth inning and allowed four earned runs off four hits and did not record an out. Hayden Carter and Dylan Christensen pitched the final 2.2 innings and gave up just two hits combined.
In the sixth, Colby Johnson led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Austin Hedges to bring up Taylor Terrasas. Terrasas would start a string of base hits with an RBI single to plate Johnson, as Tyler Ervine, Bre'shon Kimbell and Ryan Jones each singled to give Tech a 4-0 lead with just one out.
A walk followed by a bunt single by senior Corey White would give the Bulldogs bases loaded with Burch approaching the plate. For his first long ball of the season, Burch blasted a grand slam, the first of his career, over the left field fence to give the Bulldogs an 8-0 advantage. Johnson followed up with a triple down the right field line and later scored on an RBI double over the center fielder's head by Hedges for the final Tech run of the game.
Bakersfield scored its first run of the afternoon in the seventh inning after pinch hitter Kris Cayton led off with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Chance Gusbeth. Cayton later scored on a sacrifice fly by Oscar Sanay.
In the ninth, CSU Bakersfield plated three additional runs off three consecutive base hits to cut Tech's lead to five runs, but Petersen eventually recorded the third and final out of the inning for the complete game.
Burch led all Tech hitters with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate with a grand slam, four runs batted in and a run scored. Taylor Terrasas, Bre'shon Kimbell and Corey White recorded two hits each on the day, while Colby Johnson was 1-for-3 with a triple, his second of the year, and two runs scored.
Right fielder Gusbeth was 3-for-4 on the day for the Roadrunners, while Tyler Shryock was 2-for-5 with an RBI in the loss. Sanay also doubled in a 1-for-4 performance and recorded two RBI for Bakersfield.
The Bulldogs return to action at 6 p.m. Wednesday to host future Conference USA mate No. 18 Rice at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park in Ruston.