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Battle at the Ballpark Championship Day Recap


LOUISIANA TECH WINS INAUGURAL BATTLE AT THE BALLPARK

Ethan Bates Takes Home Tournament MVP, Relief Pitcher and Designated Hitter


SUGAR LAND, TX – The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (11-0) finished off a 3-0 weekend at Constellation Field with an 8-5 victory over the Air Force Falcons (4-7), capping off six games over three days at the home of the Space Cowboys. 


GAME ONE – CREIGHTON VS ARMY


In the opening game of the day, the Creighton Bluejays (7-1) used a steady offensive attack to take down the Army Black Knights (5-5) 9-3.


After enduring a shutout in their Saturday night contest, Creighton needed just two hitters to strike for their first run of the game, a solo homer to right by Nolan Sailors, his second of the season, putting the Bluejays up 1-0. 


The Black Knights generated base runners in the second and third inning against Creighton RHP Jack Pineau but were unable to convert them into runs. William Parker doubled with one out in the top of the second and Ethan Ellis followed with a walk, but Pineau struck out Carter Hewitt, and Thomas Schreck hit into a fielder’s choice that ended the frame. Derek Berg led off the third inning with a walk and a Chris Barr single put two men on base, followed by a fielder’s choice and a stolen base that set the stage for Army with two men in scoring position and just one out. Pineau once again got a strikeout and a pop out to strand both runners and preserve the Bluejays lead. 


Creighton added on two more runs in the fourth when Ben North was hit by a pitch from RHP Bryce Brownlee and Colby Canales cranked a two-run homer to left, his first of the season, widening the advantage to 3-0 for Creighton. 


A massive two-out rally helped the Bluejays put the game out of reach in the sixth. North was hit by a pitch and a fielder’s choice from Connor Capece placed men on the corners with two down, setting the stage for the top of the lineup. Tate Gillen singled in a run and Sailors gapped a two-RBI double to left, pushing Creighton ahead 6-0. Nolan Clifford knocked in another run and an RBI triple by Teddy Deters was the exclamation point of the inning, capping a five-run frame to make it 8-0. 


Army broke up the shutout with a homer of their own in the top of the seventh on a pinch-hit, two-run homer from Justin Lehman, his first career home run with Army. Canales connected for his second home run of the contest in the bottom of the seventh, pulling a tally back for Creighton to widen the score to 9-2. 


Parker’s solo blast in the top of the eighth moved the Black Knights to a 9-3 deficit, however RHP Mason Koch came on for the ninth and spun a scoreless inning to finish off the victory for Creighton. 



GAME TWO – LOUISANA TECH VS AIR FORCE


In the nightcap, Air Force got off to a hot start thanks to some fielding mistakes from the Bulldogs. Aerik Joe led off with the first with an infield single and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt from RHP Turner Swistak. Joe then dodged a tag with a spin move on his way to third Sam Kulasingam brought in the first run for the Falcons on a groundout. Chris Stallings earned a walk and Chase Spencer tripled in a pair of runners to make it 3-0 Air Force before Louisiana Tech came to bat. 


An error helped start a scoring rally for the Falcons in the second. Walker Zapp reached on a fielding error and came around to score on a double to right-center from Jay Thomason. An RBI groundout by Greiving brought home another run to make it 5-0 Air Force heading to the third inning.


Louisiana Tech stormed all the way back in the bottom of the fourth, taking the lead for good thanks to a six-run frame. Dalton Davis singled before Ethan Bates and Adarius Myers were both hit by pitches, loading up the bases for the Bulldogs. Davis scored on a wild pitch from RHP Ben Weber, and Karson Evans brought in the two more runs with a single. After a single and a balk, Logan McLeod plated another runner with a base hit up the middle, drawing Louisiana Tech within a run at 5-4. A two-RBI single from Cole McConnell vaulted the Bulldogs into the lead, 6-5. 


Air Force appeared ready to strike back and tie the game in the top of the fifth inning. Kulasingam was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch, and a hit-by-pitch from RHP Nat Crider (W, 1-0) put the go-ahead run on-base, ending the relief appearance for the righty. LHP Ryan Harland came on in relief and coaxed a pair of outs from the Falcons bats, preserving Louisiana Tech’s one-run lead. A bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the frame forced in a run to give the Bulldogs some breathing room at the halfway point of the contest. 


In the bottom of the seventh, Myers rapped a single to center, stole second and scored on a double by Michael Ballard, pushing Louisiana Tech to an 8-5 lead. Air Force’s best opportunity to come back came in the top of the eighth inning when T.J. Oster walked and moved to second on a pinch-hit single to right by Landon Boyd, bringing the tying run to the plate. RHP Seth Brodersen recorded one out on a flyout and struck out Thomason to leave a pair of runners. Bates took to the mound in the ninth inning and worked around a lead-off double, throwing a scoreless inning to secure his second save of the tournament. The righty was named the Battle of the Ballpark Tournament MVP along with being named to the All-Tournament Team as both a relief pitcher and the designated hitter. 


All-Tournament Team: 

Catcher: Jorge Corona (LA Tech) 


Infield: Chris Barr (Army) 

Nolan Clifford (Creighton)

Ben North (Creighton) 

Kasten Furr (LA Tech) 


Outfield: Cole McConnell (LA Tech) 

Nolan Sailors (Creighton) 

Chris Stallings (Air Force) 


Starting Pitcher: Mike Ruggieri (Army)


Reliever: Ethan Bates (LA Tech) 


Designated Hitter: Ethan Bates (LA Tech) 


Tournament MVP: Ethan Bates (LA Tech)

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