Feb 20, 2013 11:46 PM by UL Sports Information
The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team sent 13 batters to the plate in producing a nine-run fourth inning that delivered the knockout punch in a 12-3 midweek victory over Northwestern State here Wednesday evening at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Ryan Leonards and Michael Strentz had the big hits, both driving in two runs during the scoring barrage for Louisiana (4-1) which turned a one-run contest into a double digit lead.
NSU (3-1) was limited to just one run and four hits over the final five innings by a combined relief effort from Nick Zaunbrecher, Kendall Mayer and Ben Frith as the Cajuns coasted the rest of the way.
With a comfortable lead, a total of 16 Cajuns hitters made at least one plate appearance.
Louisiana extended its win streak over Northwestern State at "The Tigue" to eight games, improving to 17-6 at the park vs. NSU in the Tony Robichaux era.
Robichaux picked up career win No. 898 leaving him two shy of 900 career victories entering the UTSA series which begins Friday at 6 p.m. at "The Tigue". Chase Traffica (Friday), Cody Boutte (Saturday) and Austin Robichaux (Sunday) will serve as UL's starting pitchers against the Roadrunners.
Leading 3-2 heading into the game-changing frame, the Cajuns strung together three straight singles from Ryan Wilson, Blake Trahan and Caleb Adams that resulted in two quick runs and chased NSU starter Zach Krebs off the mound.
Cody Butler came out of the Demons' bullpen searching for the first out of the inning, but issued a walk to Seth Harrison which loaded the bases.
The Cajuns kept the pressure on Butler as Leonards singled home two runs, Jace Conrad doubled to score a run and Strentz tripled into the right center gap to cap off a three at bat sequence that brought home five runs and expanded the lead to 10-2. Chase Compton walked, marking a ninth consecutive Cajun to reach base without an out recorded.
Strentz scored on a wild pitch - the Cajuns eighth run scored with no outs - before Butler retired Carriere for the first out. The final tally was added when Compton scored on NSU shortstop Edwin Gomez's second error of the inning.
Strentz topped a trio of Cajuns with multiple-RBI finishing with three. Leonards and Adams each brought home two runs.
Cord Cockrell, pre-determined to throw only two or three innings, pitched two complete and held NSU to two runs off five hits in earning his second victory of the season. Matt Plitt followed with two scoreless innings to hold the Demons in check before the Cajuns erupted in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Wednesday's game marked the fifth in a season-opening, 14-game homestand for the Ragin' Cajuns. It was the first of a midweek, home-and-home with the Demons with UL scheduled to return the visit on April 10 in Natchitoches.
A pair of hit batters at the onset of the bottom of the first and a throwing error led to a pair of Cajuns runs.
Harrison, who was hit to begin the inning and moved to second after Leonards was plunked, advanced to third on a Conrad grounder and scored on a subsequent Strentz grounder. Conrad, who stole second, rounded third base after Toby Cornejo's throw to first on a Compton ground ball sailed wide of the reach of Todd Wallace at first base.
A pair of two-out hits in the top of the second inning - a Garrett Kilgore single and Cornejo double - resulted in a pair of runs for the Demons that evened the score at 2-all.
Wilson and Trahan singled to start bottom half of the second for Cajuns, then the squad reclaimed the lead when Wilson scored on an Adams fielder's choice grounder.
The bottom of the fourth began an error by Gomez and the Cajuns capitalized by making one full run through the lineup before the Demons could register an out. UL was 10 batters in before NSU would record an out and by that time eight runs had crossed the plate and the Cajuns lead became insurmountable.
BASES NOTED: Freshman shortstop Blake Trahan went 2-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to four games...Louisiana upped its all-time series lead over NSU to 78-48 (23-16 in Robichaux era)...The Cajuns are now 3-0 when scoring first...Matt Plitt turned in a second straight scoreless relief appearance and has now pitched 4 2/3 innings with a run allowed in his inaugural Cajuns campaign...The Cajuns have scored at least five runs in four of five games this young season and reached double digits for the second time (scored 12 in opener vs. CMU)...Michael Strentz (7 RBI) and Ryan Leonards (6 RBI) have combined for 13 of the Cajuns 30 RBI through the first five games...Freshman Brenn Conrad, brother of starting second baseman Jace Conrad, pinch hit for his brother in the seventh inning and played second base the final two innings...The nine runs scored in the fourth inning marked the Cajuns highest output in a single inning this seaosn, surpassing the seven scored on Central Michigan in the season opener (Feb. 15).
Louisiana 12, Northwestern State 3 (Feb 20, 2013 at Lafayette, La.)
Northwestern State.. 020 001 000 - 3 11 3 (3-1)
Louisiana........... 210 900 00X - 12 12 0 (4-1)
Pitchers: Northwestern State - Krebs, Zach; Butler,Cody(4); Shaftner, Logan(5);
Crain,Dillon(6); Siegfried,Joesph(7); Sivigliano, Ashton(8) and . Louisiana - Cockrell, Cord;
Plitt, Matt(3); Zaunbrecher, Nick(5); Mayer, Kendall(8); Frith, Ben(9) and .
Win-Cockrell, Cord(2-0) Loss-Krebs, Zach(1-1) T-2:34 A-1837
Weather: 58, cloudy, E @ 10 MPH