RUSTON – Warnner Rincones’ first career home run in the seventh inning helped Louisiana rally from a two-run deficit, but Louisiana Tech would respond with a pair of runs in the seventh before adding three more in the eighth in a 7-3 victory on Tuesday at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
Louisiana Tech (20-9) capitalized off a season-high 10 walks issued by Louisiana (14-14) which led to five runs scored in the game including four over the final two innings.
The two-game series between the in-state rivals concludes on Wednesday in a 6 p.m. contest. The game will be streamed by CUSA.tv (subscription required) and can be heard in the Lafayette area on ESPN Lafayette (103.3 FM / 1420 AM).
Both teams battled through a scoreless tie through the first two innings before Louisiana Tech took a 1-0 lead on Taylor Young’s home run off Louisiana starter Hayden Durke. The Bulldogs added another run in the inning to take a 2-0 lead after Cole McConnell walked, stole second and scored on Steele Netterville’s RBI double to left.
Louisiana cut the lead in half in the sixth inning after Max Marusak was hit by a pitch from Louisiana Tech reliever Jackson Lancaster before stealing second. After Kyle DeBarge reached on a two-out walk, Carson Roccaforte’s RBI single up the middle plated Marusak.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, who held a 7-6 advantage in hits in the game, would then take their first lead of the night in the seventh inning after capitalizing on a pair of Bulldog errors.
Connor Kimple led off the inning, reaching on Logan McLeod’s bobble of a chopper to third, before stealing second. Julian Brock earned a one-out walk to put runners on first and second before Brock was thrown out at second on the back end of an attempted double steal.
Rincones then drilled a 1-and-1 fastball from Tomkins over the left-field wall for his first career home run in a Louisiana uniform and giving the Ragin’ Cajuns a 3-2 lead.
But Louisiana Tech would take the lead for good in the bottom half of the inning as McLeod led off the frame with a home run to left off Louisiana reliever Bo Bonds (2-2) before McConnell would eventually score on a bases-loaded walk.
Louisiana would try to rally in the eighth after DeBarge earned a walk to lead off the inning. Louisiana Tech closer Kyle Crigger, who pitched the final two innings to earn his fifth save of the year, then fanned Roccaforte before Jorge Corona threw out DeBarge attempting to steal for a double play. Pinch-hitter Heath Hood was then hit by a pitch, stole second, but was stranded after Kimple grounded out to short.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the eighth on the benefit of McConnell’s two-run double to right while taking advantage of three walks in the inning with Young scoring the final run on a passed ball.
Tomkins (3-0) earned the victory for Louisiana Tech after allowing a pair of unearned runs in 1.1 innings. Starter Greg Martinez pitched 5.0 innings and fanned seven batters while scattering three hits.
Durke, in his first start of the season for Louisiana, fanned four batters in 3.0 innings of work while allowing three hits and a pair of runs. Bonds allowed a pair of hits in 4.0 innings of relief and struck out six.
Rincones went 2-for-4 to lead Louisiana at the plate while Tyler Robertson added a fourth-inning single to increase his hitting streak to seven games.
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