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Battle at the Ballpark Day 2 Recap


GAME 1: Louisiana Tech Continues Historic Start with Run-Rule Victory Over Creighton


The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (10-0) had everything working on Saturday afternoon at the Battle at the Ballpark, riding a dominant pitching performance by LHP Luke Nichols (2-0) and backing him up with a 14-hit offensive outpouring to hand the Creighton Bluejays (6-1) their first loss of the season, 12-0, in just seven innings.


After a three up, three down top of the first, Louisiana Tech wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Kasten Furr led off with a monster double midway up the left field wall, before a Cole McConnell single put runners at the corners. Dalton Davis subsequently singled to center, scoring Furr. Two pitches later, Ethan Bates punched a hard-hit grounder to third base. The ball’s unique, wild rotation allowed it to bite the dirt and take a sharp right turn that rendered Creighton third baseman Ben North helpless to stop it. The ball careened into shallow left field, allowing McConnell to come home and giving the Bulldogs an early 2-0 advantage.


After a pair of scoreless frames, a fielding error and a walk opened the door for the Bluejays in the fourth. Nolan Clifford’s sacrifice bunt advanced Creighton’s base runners, but Nichols forced a pop up and punctuated the inning with a strikeout to escape unscathed.


Louisiana Tech padded their lead in the bottom of the frame. Michael Ballard led off with a double down the rightfield line, before a pair of walks loaded the bases. After a pitching change, McConnell’s single through the right side scored two.


The following inning, Adarius Myers singled to center and advanced to second on a Ballard ground out to third. Three pitches later, Grant Comeaux singled up the middle, allowing Myers to come home, and giving the Bulldogs a 5-0 advantage.


Davis added a solo home run in the sixth that not only cleared the left field wall, but also cleared the H-E-B Picnic Plaza and nearly exited the Constellation Field facility entirely. Following a Bates single, Jorge Corona got in on the action with a two-run bomb to left center that gave the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead.


In the seventh, Louisiana Tech added a run on a Davis sacrifice fly and ended the ballgame in dramatic fashion with a Bates three-run home run to right field that gave the Bulldogs a 12-0 lead with the 10-run rule in effect.


Louisiana Tech is off to a historic 10-0 start, the best in school history.


GAME TWO: Army Earns Decisive 13-2 Victory Against Rival Air Force


The Army Black Knights (5-4) scored early and often on Saturday night in a clash of United States service academies, handing the rival Air Force Falcons (4-6) a lopsided loss, 13-2, in just seven innings.


Derek Berg opened the conflict with a bang, launching a leadoff double that impacted the wall in left center. Berg advanced to third on a Chris Barr bunt single, before safely reaching home on a Sam Ruta ground out to second base that gave Army a 1-0 advantage in the first.


In the ensuing inning, Ethan Ellis doubled to right center. Two batters later, Thomas Schreck punched a hard-hit, but catchable, glove-side grounder to third base. The ball skipped just under the Air Force third baseman’s glove and continued into left field, allowing Ellis to score easily and expanding the Black Knights’ lead to 2-0.


The Falcons answered in the bottom of the frame with a Chase Spencer double down the left field line and a Walker Zapp RBI ground out that scored Spencer and made it a 2-1 ballgame.


The Army’s methodical offensive march continued in the third, aided by a string of Air Force miscues. Two walks and a wild pitch placed Black Knight runners on second and third, before a Braden Golinski single scored Barr. Army continued to press its opponent with runners at the corners. Golinski successfully stole second, and a throwing error by the catcher on the play allowed Ruta to come in. Golinski then stole third, before safely sliding under the tag at home on an Ellis sacrifice fly to make it a 5-1 game.


Self-inflicted wounds continued to plague the Falcons in the fourth. Berg drew a leadoff walk before stealing second. The next batter, Barr, also walked, and Berg advanced to third on a passed ball. With runners at the corners, Barr attempted to steal second. Air Force fired the ball to first, and it appeared Barr would be thrown out, but the first baseman’s subsequent throw to second ricocheted off of Barr’s back, sailing into the outfield and allowing Berg to score on the error. A Ruta walk resulted in a pitching change, after which Golinski blasted the next pitch he saw for a stand-up triple that scored both Barr and Ruta. Two pitches later, Coleson Titus singled to right, bringing Golinski home. The Army continued to advance, scoring two more runs on a Schreck single to right field in Schreck’s second at bat of the inning. After another pitching change, when the dust finally settled, it was 11-1 midway through the fourth.


The Falcons refused to surrender, clawing their way to a run in the bottom of the frame. Chris Stallings walked, was moved to third by a Jake Greiving double down the left field line, and came home on a T.J. Oster RBI ground out. But, the Black Knights maintained a 11-2 advantage.


Army converted three singles and a wild pitch into two additional runs and held Air Force scoreless in the seventh to secure victory with the 10-run rule in effect.


The Battle at the Ballpark continues Sunday at Constellation Field. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. when Army faces Creighton, followed by a matchup between Air Force and Louisiana Tech at 4 p.m. Both games can be viewed online at D1Baseball.com.


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