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Strong pitching lifts Cajuns to 2-1 weekend series win over Arkansas State

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Senior Hunter Kasuls sends the ball flying as the Ragin' Cajuns take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday, Apr. 6, 2019.

Pitching performances were instrumental to the Louisiana baseball team’s weekend series victory against the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

Game one was a rough start to the series for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Arkansas State jumped out to a 6-0 lead by the fourth inning, helped by a big four-run second inning that chased starting pitcher Jacob Schultz after he only recorded three outs in the game.

A pair of two-out hits in the fourth by Orynn Veillon and Kole McKinnon cut the Red Wolves’ lead in half to 6-3, but a five-run rally in the seventh stretched the lead to 11-3.

A two-run home run by Todd Lott cut the lead to six and a bases loaded situation with no outs in the eighth inning seemed to be the last chance for Louisiana. However, they only picked up one run to keep the lead at 11-6.

The Red Wolves picked up an insurance run in the ninth and sat the Ragin’ Cajuns down in order in the final frame, closing game one at a 12-6 loss.

Veillon was 4-4 in the game with a double, two RBIs and two runs. He also struck out four batters in his two innings of relief pitching, only giving up one hit and one run.

A big issue in game one was the three errors the defense picked up. Out of the 12 runs the Red Wolves recorded, only eight were earned.

The loss in game one dropped Louisiana to 1-6 on Friday night games this season.

Game two, the first of the doubleheader on Saturday, started very differently for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Louisiana starting pitcher Austin Perrin controlled the Red Wolves’ offense that was so explosive on Friday night, throwing the first seven innings scoreless and only allowing three hits.

The Ragin’ Cajuns offense rewarded Perrin for his solid start, scoring 10 runs in the first six innings to jump out to a 10-0 lead. They scored multiple runs in five of the eight innings in game two.

The bats came out powerful in the first game of the doubleheader. Tremaine Spears and Hayden Cantrelle both homered and Handsome Monica hit two home runs all in the first six innings.

Arkansas State hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, but the Ragin’ Cajuns answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth.

The Red Wolves scored one late run, but Louisiana finished their blowout in game two with a 14-5 victory.

Center fielder Brennan Breaux and third baseman O’Neal Lochridge each had three hits and the Louisiana offense had six extra-base hits.

Game three was Louisiana’s chance to win their first weekend series since March 15-17 when they won two of three games at Little Rock in the first series of Sun Belt Conference play.

Missed opportunities plagued the Ragin’ Cajuns early. In the first three innings, Louisiana had a runner in scoring position but could never bring him in. The Red Wolves broke the scoreless tie with an RBI in the fourth inning, but starting pitcher Brandon Young recorded three-straight strikeouts to leave runners on the corners and keep the game at 1-0.

Senior Daniel Lahare answered in the bottom of the fourth with a clutch two-out RBI-single to tie the game up.

Consecutive RBI-singles in the fifth inning by Lott and Monica brought two more runs in and gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their first lead of the game. A hit batsmen with one out and the bases loaded brought in another run, and the rally continued.

A sacrifice fly by Lahare was the last run of Louisiana’s four-run fifth inning and they left the bases loaded, but they took a 5-1 lead going into the sixth.

Another run in the sixth inning gave the Ragin’ Cajuns their third-straight scoring inning and they stretched their lead 6-1 going into the final three innings of the game.

Young finished his night with seven innings pitched, one run allowed on four hits and a season-high 13 strikeouts.

“Fastball up in the zone was good, and the slider was my best pitch tonight and I haven’t thrown that in a long time,” Young said. “I knew one game I was going to break out and have a good game again. I’m just glad to get a win and get this series win.”

Caleb Armstrong and Gunner Leger pitched two hitless innings in relief and Louisiana won their first home conference series of the season.

“You can see what happens when good starting pitching sets good tempo,” Head Coach Tony Robichaux said. “The hitters did a great job and the pitchers did a great job. We pick up a day of rest for the position players too. You couldn’t have set this up any better.”

With the series win, Louisiana has now won five of their last six games to reach .500 on the season with a 17-17 record and 6-6 in conference play.

Up next, the Ragin’ Cajuns play a three-game home conference series against the South Alabama Jaguars.

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