Bulldogs score homefield sweep; LSU, NSU, ULM get series wins

STEELE SLUGGING:  Byrd High product Steele Netterville clubbed his fifth homer of the season Sunday in Louisiana Tech’s 13-2 win over Florida International. (Photo by TOM MORRIS, Louisiana Tech).

JOURNAL STAFF

RUSTON – The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs broke out their big bats and swept visiting Florida International in a Conference USA baseball series, finishing with a flourish Sunday in a 13-2 triumph.

Tech (18-6, 5-1 C-USA) used a seven-run eighth inning to run rule FIU (9-15, 2-4 C-USA) and complete the third series sweep of the season. Taylor Young, Cole McConnell, Jorge Corona, Bryce Wallace and Logan McLeod all collected multi-hit games as the offense racked up 13 hits.

It was the 11th win in 12 games for the Bulldogs, including an extra-inning victory at LSU Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Saturday, Tech prevailed 12-10 after opening the weekend with a 12-2 romp Friday night.

NORTHWESTERN STATE: Held hitless into the fifth inning Sunday, Northwestern State (12-12, 2-1 Southland Conference) erupted with a nine-run sixth inning, setting off an avalanche of runs in a 16-10 Southland Conference win against New Orleans at Maestri Field that clinched the weekend series for NSU.

Northwestern lost the opener 7-6 Friday night on a walk-off error. Sophomore right-hander Johnathan Harmon spun a four-hit, complete-game gem, and Jake Haze delivered a clutch tie-breaking, seventh-inning single to lift the Demons to a 2-1 Saturday victory.

“You get your heart broken Friday,” head coach Bobby Barbier said. “They scored two in the ninth inning to beat you in the first conference game of the season, and you come out and play really well (Saturday) and start swinging the bats really good (Sunday).

“From the stuff we did over in Arabi (cleaning up tornado debris Friday), which was probably the most important part of the weekend, to them finishing after hitting some adversity, I’m just proud of our team for how they came together this weekend.”

LSU: The 14th-ranked Tigers bounced back and battered No. 7 Florida in a weekend Southeastern Conference series at Florida Ballpark, overcoming a 7-2 loss Friday night with a 16-4 rout Saturday and an 11-2 victory Sunday. Brayden Jobert drove in five runs with two homers and freshman right-handers Samuel Dutton and Grant Taylor combined to limit Florida to two runs.

The Tigers captured their first series win in Gainesville since 2012. The series loss for Florida was its first at home since May 10-12, 2019.

LSU and Florida walked away with identical records: 17-7 overall, 3-3 in the SEC.

Jobert – a strong nominee for SEC Hitter of the Week — and centerfielder Dylan Crews each homered and collected four RBI Saturday night. The Tigers’ 16 runs were tops for the program in an SEC game since March 17, 2017, when LSU posted a 22-9 win over Georgia.

GRAMBLING STATE: With the rival teams wearing Negro League throwback uniforms, visiting Grambling fell 11-5 to Southern on Sunday afternoon at Lee-Hines Stadium in Baton Rouge.

The Jaguars used a five run seventh inning to blow the game open and claim the series win. Southern took the opener 3-2 Friday, and the G-Men (8-16, 3-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) roared to an 11-5 victory Saturday.

ULM: The Warhawks got good pitching in the first two games of their Sun Belt Conference series at home against Georgia State, and it was enough for the series win. The Warhawks (8-13-1, 3-2-1) took the opener 5-3 in 11 innings, then won 5-2 Saturday but fell 8-5 Sunday.