Apr 20, 2013 9:26 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - Matt Hicks became the school's career leader in saves and the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team grabbed the early lead in a key Sun Belt series with Florida Atlantic posting a 5-3 victory here Friday evening at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Hicks, whose 13 career saves is now the new standard for Louisiana, induced two double play balls and negated a sacrifice bunt attempt with a force out at third base during his 1 2/3 innings of work.
Austin Robichaux worked seven complete innings for the fifth time in the past six starts and protected a lead that was provided him in the team's first at bat via a Dex Kjerstad home run.
Blake Trahan topped the Cajuns (26-12, 9-7 Sun Belt) with two RBI which included driving home an insurance run in the eighth inning.
The victory assures the Cajuns of pulling within one game of second place in the Sun Belt standings and remaining two games off the pace for first place.
Louisiana and FAU (25-13, 10-6 Sun Belt) continue the SBC series on Saturday at 6 p.m. at "The Tigue". Ryan Wilson (3-2, 3.45 ERA) gets the start for the Cajuns and he'll be opposed by Jeremy Strawn (2-2, 3.55 ERA).
The Cajuns never trailed following Kjerstad's leadoff home run and saw their lead reach 4-1 following a Seth Harrison solo home run in the fifth inning.
Robichaux set the tone early, facing the minimum through three complete as his defense erased early Owls baserunners.
FAU plated two runs in the sixth inning taking advantage of free bases to trim the lead to 4-3. Robichaux would twice escape a bases loaded jam with an infield fly and fly out to Harrison in center field.
Hicks inherited a baserunner in the eight inning with the Cajuns still clinging to a 4-3 advantage. The first Owls hitter to oppose him grounded into an inning-ending double play in a five-pitch at bat.
A two-out triple by Caleb Adams in the bottom of the eighth set up Trahan for the insurance run. FAU appeared to keep the deficit at one run as a leadoff single by Tyler Girouardwas was erased when pinch runner Joe Robbins was caught stealing.
The Owls wouldn't go away quietly as the first two hitters in the ninth inning reached base. As has been customary when Hicks is on the mound, the ensuing sacrifice bunt was fielded by the junior righthander and he flipped to Sam Carriere at third base for the force out at third base.
A Mitch Morales single through the right side reloaded the bases. Hicks forced Robert Buckley into a 6-4-3 double play to stop the Owls rally.
In addition to establishing a new school career mark, Hicks pulled into a tie with Justin Robichaux for the single season record with his ninth save of 2013.
Adams finished a home run shy of the cycle as his three-hit night included a single, double and triple. Dex Kjerstad picked up his 17th multiple-hit game.
Louisiana broke a three-game losing streak against FAU and evened the all-time series at 9-9. The Cajuns extended their win streak over the Owls at "The Tigue" to four games.
BASES NOTED: The game featured a matchup of two pitchers who ranked Top 3 in the Sun Belt in ERA...Austin Robichaux's earned run average remained at 2.45, while Austin Gomber remained ahead by a slim margin as his ERA rose to 2.44...Louisiana began a stretch in which nine of the next 12 Sun Belt contests will be played at "The Tigue"...The Cajuns improved to 19-4 at "The Tigue" in 2013...UL posted its 10 multi-home run game and upped its season total to 36 which doubles the output from 2012 (18)...Dex Kjerstad has collected a multiple-hit game in 14 of the last 19 games...Louisiana won the series opener for the third straight weekend and seventh time in 10 series overall...Austin Robichaux landed his team-leading sixth quality start (six innings, three earned runs or less)...Ryan Leonards finished 0-for-3 snapping his 14-game hitting streak...Leonards tied Tyler Girouard for team-high honors in lengthiest hit streak for 2013...Dex Kjerstad's leadoff home run marked the third time this season he's led off a game with a home run (3/19 vs. Southern & 4/2 vs. McNeese)...For the 18th straight meeting between the two programs neither team produced double figure runs...It was the 10th time that a Cajuns-Owls affair was decided by three runs or less...Louisiana is now one win away from posting a series victory for the eighth time in 10 series...UL is now one win away from posting 20 wins at "The Tigue" for the 13th time in the Tony Robichaux era (19 total seasons) and 24th time overall (36th season).
Louisiana 5, Florida Atlantic 3 (Apr 19, 2013 at Lafayette, La.)
Florida Atlantic.... 000 102 000 - 3 9 1 (25-13, 10-6 SUN BELT)
Louisiana........... 110 110 01X - 5 13 1 (26-12, 9-7 SUN BELT)
Pitchers: FloridaAtlantic - Gomber, Austin; Alexander, Kevin (8). Louisiana - Robichaux, Austin; Hicks, Matt (8)
Win-Robichaux, Austin (6-2) Save-Hicks, Matt (9) Loss-Gomber, Austin (4-3) T-2:25 A-2369
HR FAU - Rocklein, Tyler (6)
HR UL - Kjerstad, Dex (6); Harrison, Seth (4)
Weather: 60, clear, NNW @ 10 MPH