BILOXI, Ms. (Press Release) - The Louisiana Tech baseball team was unable to overcome a game-high five RBI and two home runs from Florida Atlantic shortstop Tyler Frank, as the Owls took a 8-6 final over the Bulldogs on Friday evening from MGM Park.
Tech got the scoring started early in the top of the second inning, after an RBI single from Taylor Young and a two-RBI single from Dalton Skelton. In the frame, Tech cranked out three runs on four hits, which chased Florida Atlantic starter Vince Coletti after just 1.2 innings of work. The Bulldogs did all their damage in the inning with two outs.
Tech starter Logan Robbins worked two scoreless opening frames before running into some trouble in the third. The left-hander gave up a walk, and an RBI double to Cody Wilson, which cut the Tech lead to two, at 3-1. Kyle Griffen entered for Robbins, and recorded the final three outs, keeping Tech’s lead at 3-1.
In the top of the fourth, Tech left fielder Mason Mallard shot a ball the opposite way to right, that carried over the fence, extending the Bulldog lead back to three.
However, in the bottom part of the frame, the Owls struck for a four spot, keyed by a three-run blast to left centerfield from shortstop Tyler Frank.
Trailing now, 5-4, the Bulldogs showed the resiliency they’ve been accustomed to all season long, and tied the game back up in the top of the fifth, courtesy of an RBI single from Parker Bates – his team-best 50th of the season.
However, Frank had another answer in the bottom part of the sixth, launching a two-run home run off Matt Miller, who made his first relief appearance of the season in Friday’s contest.
With a 7-5 lead, both teams stayed off the scoreboard until the bottom of the eighth inning. FAU saw runners at the corners with two outs, before both teams were called off the field due to yet another lightning delay – the sixth Tech had to deal with throughout the course of the tournament. The delay lasted one hour and 24 minutes before play resumed at 10 p.m.
The Owls would tack on a run in the bottom half of the frame – extending their lead to 8-5.
Tech made a bit of a rally in the top of the ninth, scoring a run on an RBI single from Dalton Skelton. However, FAU closer Zach Schneider induced a pair of groundouts with the go-ahead runs at the plate, clinching his 15th save of the season.
The Bulldogs, who entered the week on the bubble of qualifying for their second NCAA Tournament in the past three years, will now await Selection Monday to see if their season will be extended.