HATTIESBURG, Miss. -Bulldogs right fielder Steele Netterville split one at the first-base line to take pinch runner Riggs Easterling from third for the winning run while No. 2 seed Louisiana Tech defeated No. 5 seed UTSA in walk-off fashion, 9-8, to win the 2022 C-USA Baseball Championship title on Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park.
With the win, Louisiana Tech (42-19) claimed C-USA’s automatic bid for the NCAA Baseball Championship and its first postseason conference title since 1987 when the Bulldogs won a best-of-five series against to Lamar while members of the Southland Conference.
UTSA (38-20), on the other hand, joins other C-USAs hoping to learn their postseason fortunes with potential destinations and opponents when the NCAA Selection Show airs on ESPN2 on Monday at 11 am (CDT).
Louisiana Tech held an 8-7 advantage going into the ninth and brought in star reliever Kyle Crigger to close the door. UTSA, however, refused to go away quietly as first baseman Ryan Flores smashed the first pitch that Crigger delivered to the plate high above the wall in the right center to tie things at 8-8.
Roadrunners reliever Braylon Owens, who broke free from a runner in the third and no one escaped the situation in the bottom of the eighth, put himself in a jam in the ninth as he allowed a leadoff single to Louisiana. Tech third baseman Logan McLeod.
Second baseman Wade Elliott followed with a sacrificial bunt to move Easterling – who replaced McLeod at basepaths – into the scoring position, and UTSA decided to deliberately walk third baseman Taylor Young to build a potential double play. Both runners advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch, and Owens followed with a strikeout to get into the exit from the inning unscathed.
However, Netterville returned a 2-2 offer during the ensuing at-bat that slammed a Flores in the beginning to spark the Bulldogs ’celebration.
– CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) May 29, 2022
The youngster was named Russell D. Anderson MVP after a combined 9-for-21 (.429) with a double, a home run and a team-best six RBI for the week. Netterville, McLeod and centerfielder Cole McConnell led Louisiana Tech in nine hit performances with two each.
The warm-up clash was Louisiana Tech earlier as the Bulldogs put up two ahead with an RBI-double by McConnell and a run-scoring groundout by catcher Jorge Corona, and added a run in the third in the when Corona scored from third on a wild pitch. UTSA bounced back in the top of the fourth, however, as the first three batters arrived safely to load the bases, designated hitter Garrett Poston followed with a two-run double before the shortstop. Matt King and third baseman Jonathan Tapia followed the RBI-groundouts to bet the Roadrunners on a 4-3 advantage.
UTSA added a sxith run to an RBI-single by centerfielder Shane Sirdashney just to see Louisiana Tech’s response under the frame as Netterville rippled two runs double on the left line of the field and Corona lifted a sacrificial fly to the center. The wild ball game continued into seventh when UTSA left fielder Chase Keng smashing a two -run homer over the wall on the left, but the Bulldogs put up a pair of undefeated run home halfway through the stanza and set the stage for deciding the game. the ninth.
The two teams combined to use 13 pitchers, and Crigger (6-2) took the win after giving the walk homer with a walk and a strikeout in his lone inning on the bump. Owens (3-2) was filled with loss after stopping to run with three hits and walks while fanning three of 1.2 innings from the bullpen.
LA Tech head coach Lane Burroughs
IN THE NEXT
We will host a public selection show watch party at the Davison Athletics Complex at 11 a.m. with doors opening at 10:30 p.m.
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