The Louisiana baseball team dropped their first two games of the weekend against the Troy Trojans, but salvaged the series with a victory in the third game.
Louisiana went into the Troy series with a 1-4 record in Friday night games, and game one seemed to indicate a turnaround from that trend at the beginning.
The Ragin’ Cajuns started the top of the first inning in game one with a quick three-run blitz to take an early lead. A RBI double by Todd Lott and a two-RBI double by Hunter Kasuls forced the Trojans to pull their starter after recording only one out.
After scoring three runs on Troy’s starter, Louisiana’s bats went cold, only managing one run over the next eight innings against the bullpen.
The Trojans offense gradually got back into the game against Louisiana starting pitcher Jacob Schultz. Schultz struggled in the three innings he pitched. Even though he allowed only two runs in the first three innings, he stranded seven Trojans, managing to escape a few tight situations.
Louisiana left the bases loaded in the top of the fourth with a 3-2 lead and that’s when Troy took advantage of momentum and grabbed their first lead of the game with a two-run inning. Schultz ended his night before recording an out in the fourth inning and Brandon Young came on in relief and ended the threat.
The fifth inning for the Ragin’ Cajuns was one to forget. Three consecutive hits to lead off the inning by Lott, Kasuls, and Orynn Veillon tied the game up. A walk loaded the bases with no outs and the game tied. However, two fielder’s choice groundouts where a Louisiana player was thrown out at home from third base followed by a groundout gave them no extra runs and for the second straight inning they left the bases loaded.
Young was fantastic in relief. He pitched five innings of scoreless ball, only giving up one hit and striking out eight. The Louisiana offense could not give him any run support after the failure in the fifth inning, and Troy managed to finally get the game winning run off Young on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“Brandon came in and threw really well for us,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “We just didn’t get any runs throughout the period when we had opportunities to break the game open.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns lost game one 5-4, dropping to 1-5 on Friday games this year.
Game two was less dramatic for Louisiana. Starting pitcher Austin Perrin lasted two outs in the first inning, giving up four runs on six hits before the Ragin’ Cajuns went to the bullpen.
Troy continued their hot start, getting nine hits and seven runs in the first two innings. The quick 7-1 lead for the Trojans was too much to overcome for Louisiana.
Over the final six innings of the game, the Ragin’ Cajuns offense put up five runs on nine hits, but left seven men on base in that stretch, falling short of a comeback.
Louisiana finished game two with 12 hits but only scored six runs in the 10-6 loss. Four errors on the defense hurt and Troy’s 13 hits and 10 runs were both highs for the weekend.
After losing the first two games, salvaging the weekend with a victory in the third game became pivotal.
The Ragin’ Cajuns bats started cold in the final game of the series, only recording two hits without getting a run in the first five innings. Starting pitcher Jack Burke held the Trojans offense in check through that stretch as well, giving up five hits and one unearned run in five innings of work.
A passed ball with a man on third base in the fifth inning gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead, breaking the scoreless tie. Louisiana answered in the sixth on a two-run home run by Handsome Monica, and the Ragin’ Cajuns quickly took their first lead of the game.
The back-and-forth game began after that.
Troy tied the game in the seventh inning with a two-out RBI-double, but a solo home run by Todd Lott in the top of the eighth gave Louisiana the lead back at 3-2.
Troy answered with a solo home run of their own in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game once again sending the game to the ninth inning with a 3-3 score line.
A leadoff single by Brennan Breaux was followed by two groundouts for the Ragin’ Cajuns bats. With Louisiana down to their final out in regulation, Hayden Cantrelle came up with a huge two-out RBI-double, giving the Ragin’ Cajuns a 4-3 lead.
Senior pitcher Gunner Leger came on for the save in the ninth inning after missing the past two Friday night starts. Leger successfully recorded his first save of the season, stranding a runner on third.
The Ragin’ Cajuns went onto win 4-3, salvaging the road series and avoiding the sweep.
“Jack had a great start,” Robichaux said after the win. “Our biggest goal was to go back to pitching and defense: that can’t leave us.”
Louisiana is now 13-16 on the season and 4-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. They have a home game on Tuesday against Southeastern Louisiana before traveling to Hammond to play them on Wednesday for a midweek series. This weekend, the Ragin’ Cajuns host a three-game series against the Arkansas State Red Wolves, who are 19-9 and 7-2 in SBC play.