The Ragin’ Cajuns and Coastal Carolina opened up their first games of the Sun Belt Conference against each other at Russo Park on March 26. Prior to opening up their conference games, Carolina stood well with their season record with 13 wins and six losses. Louisiana, on the other hand, could not say the same as they had 11 wins and 10 losses.
Although the teams’ records say otherwise, this series was highly anticipated as Cajun fans were left unsatisfied due to the complications in the past season’s football schedule.
Louisiana and Coastal Carolina football teams were supposed to play in the SBC Championship Game, but it was canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test. With this, fans of both teams can feel an increased level of competition.
The Cajuns swept Carolina under the rug with a 9-2 victory in their first game. They started scoring early with six runs in the second inning and added three more in the bottom of the third. Big plays from Kevin Fitzgerald and Bobby Lada helped get a massive lead for the Cajuns. Fitzgerald allowed Conn Kimple and Bran Talley to score (3-0). Lada, who had eight home runs at Bossier Parish Community College before transferring to UL Lafayette, scored a triple in the second inning sending Fitzgerald and Carson Roccaforte home.
The team also showed excellent pitching skills as Spencer Arrighetti threw 7.1 innings and struck out 11 batters. At the end of the game, Jacob Schultz stepped in for 1.2 innings and threw four strikeouts. Both pitchers allowed for one run.
The Cajuns went on to win their first conference game in the highly anticipated game against Carolina. Their next day’s game did not amount to the same glory as before.
Carolina scored first with Tanner Garrison hitting a single sending one baserunner home, setting the score 1-0. Louisiana came back with their own point when Robertson hit a double sending Fitzgerald home in the third inning (1-1). Carolina waited until the fifth inning to score again where Billy Underwood sent two more baserunners home increasing their lead to 3-1. Already not looking good for the Cajuns, Coastal’s Nick Lucky hit a solo home run making the lead 4-1. The Cajuns were trying to make a comeback and put Lada in who sent Roccaforte home bringing the score back up to 4-2. Their efforts were not enough as Carolina scored again in the fifth inning. The last of UL Lafayette’s points came from Fitzgerald after Bren Breaux hit out toward the center field.
Carolina played excellent the whole night with their pitching. Louisiana missed a couple of opportunities to make their comeback but redeemed themselves with wins against Coastal Carolina on Sunday and Monday. We have seen excellent hitting in this series. The team’s hitting was an area that seemed to be lacking, so to see this improvement during a highly anticipated game is a good sign. Louisiana looks to improve on scoring early and if they fall behind, not letting their comeback happen so late. Scoring fast and efficiently early helped them win against Coastal Carolina in the first game of the series.