Louisiana Tech (6-10) put up five runs in the bottom of the seventh, while the Bulldog pitching staff allowed just one run on the night to help clinch an 8-1 victory over Grambling State (3-12) Wednesday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
With the score knotted at 1-1 after four innings of play, LA Tech pushed across one run in both the fifth and sixth innings for a 3-1 lead before breaking open the game in the seventh with five runs to defeat Grambling for the 19th straight time. The Bulldogs now hold a 21-3 series record over the Tigers.
Both Taylor Love and Stephen Gandy had career days at the plate for the Bulldogs to help lead Tech to back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Love put together a 3-for-4 performance and belted his first career home run to right field in the sixth to extend the Bulldogs' lead. The sophomore shortstop had two RBI and scored three runs in the game. Gandy stretched his hitting streak to four games tonight with a perfect 3-for-3 showing at the dish, including knocking home the game-tying run in the fourth on an RBI double to left field. He totaled two RBI and walked once against the Tigers.
"I thought our guys showed a lot of maturity by making adjustments their second and third times through the batting order," head coach Wade Simoneaux said. "I give Grambling's starter credit because he pitched well for six innings. Our guys also pitched well, and it was good to see Phil Maton attack that zone like he did tonight. It was also good to see Luke Giddens step up and pitch better tonight.
"Stephen Gandy continues to swing a hot bat for us, and Love did too with his first career home run. Overall, our guys showed a lot of maturity and overcame a rough start to beat a good Grambling team tonight."
Phil Maton (1-2) pitched a perfect eighth inning against Grambling to earn the victory for the Bulldogs in tonight's midweek contest. The junior right-hander faced a minimum of three Grambling batters and recorded two strikeouts in the inning. Austin Greer started on the mound for Tech and pitched two innings, while allowing the lone run of the day, and unearned run, for the Tigers.
Jared Keating, Mark Baughman, Braden Bristo, Eric Dunbar and Luke Giddens all combined to shut out Grambling the rest of the way, before Laetten Galbraith came on to close it out in the ninth with three straight strikeouts.
Colby Martin (1-1) started for the Tigers and was charged with the loss after allowing three runs – two earned – off seven Bulldog hits in 6.0 innings of work. Martin walked one and struck out three in the loss. Issac O'Bear came on in the seventh and faced four batters, allowing four runs off two hits and two walks. David Allen gave up the final run of the day for the Tigers' pitching staff, allowing one run on three hits in one inning. Desmond Stegall, Dion Holbrook and TJ Murphy combined to pitch the eighth for Grambling.
Grambling began the night with a 1-0 lead in the first after a pair of errors combined with two hits helped give the Tigers the advantage early on in the ballgame.
Tech was held scoreless until the fourth when Love singled up the middle with two outs and scored on Gandy's double to left field to tie the game at 1-1. The Bulldogs wasted no time in the fifth and broke the tie as Thomas Simoneaux, who reached on a fielder's choice after a lead-off hit by Taylor Burch, scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Bre'shon Kimbell for a 2-1 LA Tech lead.
In the sixth, Tech extended its lead to 3-1 on Love's home run to right-center field, but it was in the seventh when the Bulldog bats really began to come alive. Two walks and a single by Kimbell gave Tech bases loaded with no outs in the inning to bring Tyler Ervine to the plate. Ervine came through for the Bulldogs with a two-RBI single to left field. Love then followed up by knocking in his second run of the night on a single to left, only to bring up Gandy, who proceeded to also single to left field for an RBI. Jacob Derouen had the final hit of the inning for the Bulldogs with an RBI base knock to center field to complete the five-run seventh inning and give Tech an 8-1 advantage late in the ballgame.
Apart from Love and Gandy each totaling three hits in the win, Burch also had a nice night at the plate with a 2-for-4 effort, while Ervine was 1-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Kimbell also had a hit against the Tigers with an RBI and run, while Jacob Derouen was 1-for-1 with a run batted in after coming on as a pinch hitter.
The LA Tech pitching staff contributed to the win with a combined eight strikeouts, while not allowing a single walk over the course of nine innings. Tech used a total of eight pitchers in the win over Grambling.
The Bulldogs now travel to Boca Raton, Fla., for a three-game Conference USA series against Florida Atlantic beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT on Friday at FAU Stadium.