Diamond ’Dogs to open C-USA tourney vs. 49ers on Wednesday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Louisiana Tech got off a strong start to win the rubber match of a three-game Conference USA baseball series at Charlotte on Saturday afternoon at Hayes Stadium as the Bulldogs marched to an 8-3 win.

 LA Tech (38-18, 20-10 C-USA) topped Charlotte (35-20, 17-13 C-USA) as six different Bulldogs recorded multi-hit games.

Jonathan Fincher earned the win for Tech in relief.

“I just met with the guys and I told them it has been a great journey so far,” said Tech head coach Lane Burroughs. “There are a lot of teams whose seasons are over. Going 20-10 usually wins you a championship, but I am proud of our guys considering playing in the fourth toughest conference in the country. Not too shabby at all and the journey is not over. We won road series at UTSA, Old Dominion, Marshall and here in Charlotte which are really tough places.”

The Bulldog bats came out firing in the first inning, scoring seven runs. With the bases loaded Cole McConnell drove in his 71stt run of the year on a groundout. Walker Burchfield beat out a throw on a fielder’s choice to bring in the second run and Logan McLeod was hit-by-pitch to allow the Bulldogs to take a 3-0 lead. With the bases loaded and two down, Wade Elliott launched a moonshot grand slam over the left center field wall. Elliott’s fourth long ball of the year capped off the seven run first inning.

LA Tech plated another run in the second inning as Jorge Corona brought home Philip Matulia on a sacrifice fly.

 In the third, the Bulldogs scored three more times on five hits with the big one coming off the bat of Taylor Young. The senior shortstop belted his 10th home run of the season bringing home all three in the inning.

Charlotte designated hitter David McCabe homered twice in this ball game. McCabe hit a three-run homer in the third and a solo shot in the bottom of the seventh.

From the fourth inning until the sixth, both teams were held scoreless. Fincher came on in relief as Jarret Whorff ran into some in the third. Fincher worked 2.2 innings out of the bullpen holding the 49ers to no runs on just four hits with two strikeouts.

Corona added to his hot streak as he shot an RBI double into the gap with two down in the seventh. Adarius Myers then singled on the infield and Corona came around to score on a throwing error. Lancaster added his third hit of the game to bring in the 14th Bulldog run taking a 14-4 lead.

Greg Martinez tossed the final two innings in relief before the game called due to weather. The right-hander allowed just three hits and one run coming on a solo homer and he struck out one.

The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 38-18 record going 20-10 in conference play.

With the 38th win of the season, Burroughs reached the 200 win mark as the LA Tech skipper.

“Our guys had to fight and show some toughness,” Burroughs said. “We kind of got manhandled Thursday night. 

“There have been plenty of times this year when we could have thrown up our hands. Even when it is 14-5 it still feels close with those guys because they can really hit. But I am very proud of these guys for finishing the season the way they did.”

Tech will head down to Hattiesburg to begin the C-USA Tournament at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday as the Bulldogs face off with Charlotte once again.

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