Posted: Mar 16, 2013 8:49 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE - The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team scored all the runs they needed in one inning and used a strong starting pitching performance a second straight day to top ULM 5-2 and claim the Sun Belt opening series here Saturday afternoon at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Louisiana (15-3, 2-0 Sun Belt) scored five times in the third inning which provided ample run support for starting pitcher Austin Robichaux who limited ULM (8-11, 0-2 Sun Belt) to one run off three hits in 7 2/3 innings and struck out a career-high eight.
The Cajuns, who took the series opener 9-2 on Friday, won a weekend series for the fifth time in as many weekends and claimed the Sun Belt opening set from the Warhawks for the second straight season.
UL goes for the sweep on Sunday as the teams wrap up the series with a 1 p.m. contest at "The Tigue". LSU-Eunice transfer Cody Boutte (3-0, 5.59 ERA) makes his first Sun Belt Conference start and will be matched up against ULM's Alex Dumaine (1-0, 2.40 ERA).
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning, the Cajuns took advantage of three ULM errors to take the lead for good.
A failed pickoff attempt by Cale Wine allowed Dex Kjerstad to move into scoring position with one out. Ryan Leonards singled up the middle to send Kjerstad racing for home plate. The throw from ULM shortstop Kodie Tidwell was in time, but Logan Fiasco dropped the ball on the tag allowing Kjerstad to score and even the score at 1-1.
After an intentional walk issued to Tyler Girouard with two outs, both Leonards and Girouard took off on a double steal. Fiasco's throw to third base was low and bounced off the bag into foul territory allowing Leonards to score and break the tie.
Michael Strentz's RBI single and Chase Compton's two-run home run followed and made Wine and the Warhawks pay for the extended inning as Louisiana's lead grew to 5-1.
The scoring stopped there as both Robichaux and Wine took over. The lone tally the rest of the way was a ULM run that scored with two outs in the ninth inning on a Jeff Fuller RBI double.
After the Cajuns five-run outburst Robichaux retired six straight Warhawks batters to keep the momentum on the Cajuns' side.
The lone threat by ULM - until he was relieved by Matt Hicks with two outs in the eighth inning - came in the sixth inning when the Warhawks had runners on the corners with one out, but a three-pitch strikeout and grounder to shortstop preserved the four-run edge.
Hicks struck out Taylor Abadalla with the tying run on deck after back-to-back hit by pitch by Robichaux gave ULM a pair of baserunners with two outs in the eighth inning. He finished off the contest for Louisiana to collect his sixth save of the season.
Compton, who homered for the second straight game, led the Cajuns with two RBI and finished 2-for-3 at the plate. Seth Harrison also had a multiple-hit game (2-for-4) as he extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
With the series victory, the Ragin' Cajuns claimed a Sun Belt series from ULM at "The Tigue" for the first time since the Warhawks joined the league in 2007.
BASES NOTED: Louisiana improved to 14-12 in Sun Belt play against ULM...The Cajuns increased their all-time series lead to 68-52 which includes a 25-18 mark under Tony Robichaux's direction...Austin Robichaux's eight strikeouts surpassed his previous career-best of six set at Middle Tennessee on May 12, 2012...Robichaux turned in the second-longest outing of his young career, falling one inning shy of the 8 2/3 innings tossed against Southeastern Louisiana April 3, 2012...Chase Compton continues to raise his season batting average, now up to .333 following a 2-of-3 showing on Saturday...Dating back to the start of the Sacred Heart series (March 1), Compton is hitting .476 (10-of-21) with two doubles, two home runs and six RBI...Seth Harrison's 10-game hitting streak is the longest hit streak by a Cajuns player since Mike Petello produced a 14-game hitting streak in 2011...For the fifth time in his last six career starts, Austin Robichaux held the opposition to four hits or less...Robichaux has made five starts this season and allowed four hits or less in four of the five starts...Robichaux has pitched 27 2/3 innings in 2013 and limited foes to just 21 hits...Matt Hicks' six saves are the most by a Cajuns reliever since Caleb Kellogg had that exact total in 2012...The last Cajuns reliever with more than six saves was Justin Robichaux who collected nine in 2008...Matt Hicks collected his 10th career save, which leaves him two shy of tying the school career record of 12 set by Kraig Schambough (2002-05) and tied by Justin Robichaux (2007-10)...Hicks' 10 saves are tied for fifth-most in school history.