May 3, 2013 11:40 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team's seven-run surge over the first three innings carried the squad to an 11-4 victory over Arkansas State in the opening game of a six-game homestand at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Louisiana (32-15, 13-9 Sun Belt) used an aggressive attack in the first inning, with no batter seeing more than three pitches, to grab a quick 2-0 lead and never looked back on the way to plating the most earned runs (11) this season off of ASU starter Daniel Wright.
Austin Robichaux faced the minimum four times over his seven innings on the way to earning his Sun Belt-leading seventh victory.
Dex Kjerstad notched his 21st multi-hit game and ninth with three hits while scoring three runs. Jace Conrad delivered a game-high four RBI, the bulk of the tally coming on a three-run home run in the seventh inning.
Louisiana collected 13 base hits giving the squad double digit hits for the 27th time. Conrad's home run extended the Cajuns streak of consecutive games with a home run to 10.
The Ragin' Cajuns and Red Wolves (24-22, 10-12 Sun Belt) continue their three-game series on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. Cody Boutte (7-2, 4.54 ERA) gets the start for UL and he'll be opposed by Bradley Wallace (4-1, 3.93 ERA).
Kjerstad singled on Wright's first offering of the game and scored four pitches later when Seth Harrison took a first pitch offering through the left side. Four pitches later it was a first-pitch single from Blake Trahan that scored Harrison for a 2-0 lead.
A pair of runs that crossed on a successfully executed squeeze bunt by Ryan Leonards and RBI double from Tyler Girouard advanced the Cajuns lead to 5-0 after two complete.
ASU posted two runs in the third inning following a Dustin Jones triple and Collin Massanielli single. The Cajuns grabbed the momentum back in the bottom half, scoring a run on a wild pitch and Leonards RBI single.
Robichaux breezed through the middle innings allowing just one hit and facing 11 batters. Wright slowed the Cajuns tempo down allowing single hits in the fourth and fifth inning and retiring the side in the sixth inning.
Three consecutive two-out hits by the Red Wolves in the seventh inning led to two runs that cut the Louisiana lead to 8-4. Conrad's three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh proved to be the final blow.
Ryan Wilson and Ben Carter each threw perfect innings in the eighth and ninth, respectively, to close out the contest.
The Cajuns won their third straight Sun Belt game tying for the longest win streak in league play this season.
With the win and FAU's rain out in Boca Raton, Louisiana moves into sole possession of third place in the SBC standings. The Cajuns moved within 2-1/2 games of first place South Alabama who had their opener with Middle Tennessee suspended in the 14th inning with the Blue Raiders leading 11-9.
BASES NOTED: Louisiana has now scored first 27 times which has led to 20 of the season's 32 victories (20-7 record)...The seven-run margin of victory increased the team's season run-differential to +101 (outscored foes 335-234)...The Cajuns scored double digits for the 11th time and remained unbeaten (11-0) when doing so...Jace Conrad's three-run home run in the seventh inning was his first home run of the season at "The Tigue"...Conrad's four RBI increased his season total to 20, giving the Cajuns all nine starters in the lineup with 20-plus RBI...Tyler Girouard took sole possession of the team lead in RBI at 34 with his RBI double in the second inning...The Cajuns remained perfect in series openers at "The Tigue" in 2013 (7-0)...Louisiana improved to 28-5 when producing five-plus runs...Dylan Butler left the game in the third inning with a cut above his left eye after running into the left field wall on a triple by Dustin Jones...Blake Trahan extended his season-best hitting streak to eight games and collected his first three-hit game...Michael Strentz was hit by a pitch twice, upping his season total to 17 which is two shy of the school record 19 by Matt Goulas in 2010...Strentz now has 30 free passes this season (13 walks, 17 hit by pitch)...Ryan Leonards reached 50 hits for a second straight season with his squeeze bunt single in the second inning...Dex Kjerstad's three-hit game increased his season hits total to 68 leaving him two hits shy of becoming the first Cajun with 70 base hits since Mike Petello (72) and Greg Fontenot (70) in 2011...Austin Robichaux pitched seven complete innings for the seventh time in eight Sun Belt weekends...The Cajuns improved to 21-12 at "The Tigue" vs. Arkansas State in the Tony Robichaux era...Louisiana is now three wins shy of posting the 400th victory at the "Tigue" in the Robichaux era (397-153-1)...The Cajuns' 32 wins are the most since posting 38 in 2010...UL returned to a season-high 17 games above .500 and is now a season-best four games above .500 in Sun Belt play.
Louisiana 11, Arkansas State 4 (May 03, 2013 at Lafayette, La.)
Arkansas State...... 002 000 200 - 4 8 1 (24-22, 10-12 SUN BELT)
Louisiana........... 232 010 30X - 11 13 0 (32-15, 13-9 SUN BELT)
Pitchers: Arkansas State - Wright, Daniel; McWilliams, Seth (8). Louisiana - Robichaux, Austin; Wilson, Ryan(8); Carter, Ben(9)
Win-Robichaux, Austin (7-2) Loss-Wright, Daniel (5-4) T-2:20 A-2019
HR UL - Conrad, Jace (2)
Weather: 59, mostly clear, NNW @ 20 MPH