HOUSTON — On Friday the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs found a winning method in the tried and true fashion of the home run. On a bright Sunday, the Bulldogs seldom needed anything longer than a trot to first or quick jog to second to amass their 16 hits, 14 of which were singles, and six runs off of five different Rice Owl pitchers.
In the middle of this perfect storm of small ball was senior left fielder Raphael Gladu, who went for four for five, and stole a base. His day at the plate aided Louisiana Tech in moving to 4-8 in Conference USA play, and 21-12 overall.
“Man, after my first at bat I felt pretty good,” said Gladu, a native of Quebec, Canada. “I knew it would be a good day for me.”
With the winds around Reckling Park locked in a formidable loop that held up or put to the ground most balls hit too high in the air, Gladu’s cuts kept his hits low and free of swirling air.
“The last day of a series is always a small game; bunts, hit and runs, We didn’t really expect that today, but our guys had a lot of energy and it helped.”
With Bulldog starter Nate Harris holding Rice scoreless on three hits, Tech batters never fell victim to any situation that needed the ball hit into the air.
“It wasn’t an offensive day,” said Louisiana Tech head coach Lane Burroughs. “Much like last night the wind was blowing in, so you know it’s not going to be an offensive day, but we had some big two out hits today.”
While offensive in for the form of run production was scarce until the waning innings for the Bulldogs, Gladu’s day at the plate was not overlooked from the dugout.
“Raphie’s one of our best hitter. He has a really flat swing, and when he’s on he’s really tough to get out,” said Burroughs. “It’s good to see him hit and swing the bat well. I stayed away from him because he was going good. You don’t want to get in their head too much.”
According to Gladu, the intricate science was simple, at least for an afternoon.
“I was trying to stay calm and positive, that’s the only thought I had. A couple of guys told me to stay hot. That was about it.”