Mar 31, 2013 3:00 PM by UL Sports Information
BOWLING GREEN - The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team closed out a seven-game road trip here Saturday afternoon at Nick Denes Field with a split of a doubleheader against WKU using a 14-hit attack in the second game to post an 8-6 win and rebound from a shutout defeat in the opener.
Andrew Edwards outdueled Austin Robichaux in a 3-0 Hilltoppers victory in game one. Edwards tossed a complete game shutout holding the Cajuns to six hits and striking out eight. That win gave WKU (16-12, 7-2 Sun Belt) the series victory, marking the second straight weekend the Cajuns were dealt a series loss after beginning the season 5-for-5 in weekend sets.
Louisiana (19-8, 4-5 Sun Belt) piled up eight runs over the first four innings off of WKU starting pitcher Tim Bado in the second game and Seth Harrison made his pitching debut tossing the final 1 2/3 innings for the save in relief of Cody Boutte.
The Ragin' Cajuns return to the friendly confines of M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field on Tuesday, April 2 for a 6 p.m. game with McNeese State. It's the start of a five-game homestand that also includes a Sun Belt series with Troy (April 5-7) and midweek game with Tulane (April 9).
The opening game saw Robichaux and Edwards swap scoreless frames over the first three innings. Edwards stranded a Cajuns baserunner at second base each of the three innings. Robichaux struck out four WKU batters over the first two frames and retired the Hilltoppers in order in the third inning.
WKU broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning when Blake Crabtree doubled to lead off and later scored on a passed ball.
The Cajuns drew back-to-back two out walks in the top of the fifth, then an Edwards wild pitch placed runners on second and third. Edwards was able to strike out Tyler Girouard swinging to end the threat.
That proved to be Louisiana's final scoring opportunity as Edwards surrendered only one base hit over the final four innings. His teammates provided him with insurance runs in the sixth inning as back-to-back run scoring singles from Scott Wilcox and Regan Flaherty upped the lead to 3-0.
Edwards tossed the first complete game shutout by a Hilltoppers pitcher since May 2011 and the Cajuns were shutout for the first time in the 2013 season.
Girouard led the Cajuns offense with a 3-for-4 performance which marked his 11th multiple-hit game of the season and extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Louisiana struck first in the second game, gaining two runs in the top of the second inning on run scoring singles by Caleb Adams and Jace Conrad. WKU answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back run scoring doubles from Crabtree and David Simmons.
The Cajuns began to chip away at the WKU lead starting with a solo home run from Ryan Leonards on the first at bat of the third inning. Boutte began to settle in on the mound as he extended a string of consecutive batters retired to seven straight into the WKU half of the fourth inning.
The Cajuns regained the lead and chased Bado in the fourth inning, plating five runs for an 8-4 advantage. A Girouard two-run single and Michael Strentz two-run double were the key hits.
Boutte protected the lead as he surrendered just two hits over WKU's next four at bats. He strung together a string of six straight Hilltoppers retired over the sixth inning and seventh inning.
After a Huck home run in the eighth inning pulled WKU within three runs at 8-5, Harrison made the first relief appearance of his Division I career and pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to collect the save.
The Hilltoppers tested Harrison in the ninth inning, plating a run on a bases loaded fielder's choice grounder to trim margin to 8-6. The Cajuns righty would leave the bases loaded with WKU runners as he struck out Ryan Messex swinging for the final out.
Leonards topped the Cajuns with three hits (3-for-5). Strentz doubled twice and reached base all five plate appearances as he also walked twice and was hit by a pitch. Girouard's two-run single in the fourth inning extended his career-long hitting streak to 12 games.
Boutte picked up his team-leading fifth victory and worked past the seventh inning for the second time in three SBC starts.