Feb 17, 2013 8:49 PM by UL Sports Information
Central Michigan took advantage of a Cajuns error in the first inning, opening a five-run advantage that held the remainder the game in a 10-2 victory over Louisiana in the finale of a four-game series at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
The Ragin' Cajuns (3-1) misplay of a sacrifice bunt attempt down the third base line two batters into the game led to a run, then a three-run home run later in the inning tacked on additional unearned runs as the Chippewas (1-3) grabbed momentum early.
Rick Dodridge held the Louisiana bats in check, allowing just one run and scattering six hits over his six innings of work.
Seminole State College transfer Ryan Wilson, who patrolled the outfield for the Cajuns in the series first three contests, took the mound for his first start at the Division I level. While CMU plated six runs that he was responsible for, only two were earned.
Freshman Joe Robbins posted a bases-loaded RBI single in the fourth inning off of Dodridge, but the Chippewas starter came back with scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh before giving way to relievers Taylor Lehnert and Blake Louscher who held the Cajuns to two hits over the final three innings.
"Give them credit they got the big hit and put up some runs on the board very early," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "We staked our hitters with too many runs too early.
"It all comes down to the bunt...we need to defend it better," Robichaux stated. "They were playing for one run to score first and we turn it into a five-run inning and now they were able to relax the rest of the way."
The Ragin' Cajuns return to action and continue their season-opening, 14-game homestand on Wednesday, Feb. 20 hosting Northwestern State. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
The Chippewas early uprising was triggered by a leadoff double from Nick Regnier. He would score when Pat MacKenzie's sacrifice bunt attempt was fielded by Sam Carriere, but the throw sailed over the reach of Logan Preston.
After a walk, Wilson settled in by notching a pair of strikeouts around a Neal Jacobs RBI single and seemed poised to limit CMU to two runs. However, with the error extending the inning, the Chippewas advantage grew to five runs following a three-run home run far beyond the left field fence from Randon Henika.
Dodridge stayed ahead of the Cajuns allowing only two-out hits in the first and second inning before retiring the side in the third inning. His team added to the early lead with two runs in the third inning off a Jordan Adams home run and an unearned run that crossed home plate on a dropped infield fly.
Dodrige withstood a Cajuns threat in the fourth inning after a leadoff double (Carriere) and subsequent single (Caleb Adams) and a one-out hit by pitch loaded the bases. Robbins dumped a single into shallow right field scoring Carriere to drop the deficit to 7-1.
A pair of fly ball outs prevented the Cajuns from switching the momentum on Dodridge and the Chippeaws.
CMU added three runs over the final two frames and Louisiana picked up an RBI single from Ryan Leonards in the bottom of the ninth to finish the scoring.
Sunday's contest marked the Division debut for Adams (right field), Nick Thurman (catcher), Robbins (shortstop), Brenn Conrad (pinch hit single in ninth inning), Kody Smith (relief pitcher) and Ben Carter (relief pitcher).
"Being able to win three games, battle through the cold weather and have some guys gain their first Division I level experience are a few things that we gained from this series that will help us as the season progresses," Robichaux said.
The Cajuns, already off a 3-0 start for the first time since 2010 following Saturday's doubleheader sweep, exited opening weekend with a winning mark for the first time since that same season.
BASES NOTED: With Ryan Wilson pitching and Caleb Adams debuting in right field, the Cajuns used their third different outfield combination of the young season...Having the day off, freshman Blake Trahan was able to finish the season-opening weekend with a three-game hitting streak...Jace Conrad reached base all games in the series and played error free at second base through 17 chances (4 putouts, 13 assists)...Ben Carter, who missed all of 2012 with elbow ailments, made his Cajuns debut with a relief appearance in the eighth inning...The Cajuns left 13 runners on base...A total of 16 Cajuns made at least one plate appearance in the series...Louisiana's pitching staff finished the opening weekend with a 3.50 ERA while holding CMU to a .264 average...Head coach Tony Robichaux will enter the second week of the season needing three wins for his 900th victory as a collegiate head coach.