Posted: May 18, 2012 10:51 PM by UL Sports Information
With the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team's Sun Belt Tournament hopes hanging in the balance, the squad suffered a 2-1 extra innings defeat to in-state rival La.-Monroe Friday evening at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Depending on the outcome of other Friday night games in the league, Louisiana (23-29, 11-18 Sun Belt) could be eliminated from SBC Tournament contention before taking the field for the regular season finale on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Warhawks broke a 1-1 stalemate in the top of the 11th inning when a bases-loaded wild pitch by Caleb Kellogg allowed Caleb Clowers, who started the inning with a leadoff single, to score the go-ahead run for the Warhawks (27-27, 14-15 Sun Belt).
The Cajuns got the tying run aboard in the bottom of the 11th inning with a leadoff single by Chase Compton. La.-Monroe ace reliever Wil Browning, who pitched the final four innings, struck out Dylan Butler and induced a double play ball from Tyler Girouard - the fifth twin-killing the Cajuns hit into in the contest - to end the game.
The loss spoiled a sterling effort by Cajuns starter Chris Griffitt who had a career-best 11 strikeouts in a no decision allowing just one unearned run on two hits 6 1/3 innings. Griffitt handcuffed the Warhawks during his stint, facing 21 consecutive batters without allowing a hit after one-out double in the first inning and limiting La.-Monroe to two total hits.
"(Chris) Griffitt came out and threw a great game for us, (Matt) Hicks came in and did a great job, and (Caleb) Kellogg came in and did a great job," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "We just didn't execute and do the little things which put us on the other side of a 2-1 ballgame.
"You've got to do the little things when you play in close ballgames. We've got to come out and win a game for our seniors tomorrow."
The Cajuns biggest threats were turned away by double plays. La.-Monroe starter Cale Wine induced a 6-4-3 double play from Jace Conrad in the third inning with the bases loaded. Then in the seventh inning with a runner on third after a Jordan Bourque RBI single, Daniel Nichols' squeeze bunt attempt resulted in a 1-5 double play that allowed the Warhawks to maintain the tie.
The Cajuns were in a tied situation, when a fielding error by Chris Sinclair on a Judd Edwards bunt attempt led to a run for the visitors as Taylor Abdalla tripled in the very next bat.
Louisiana reached double figures in hits for the 11th time in the past 17 outings. Sinclair led the charge with his second three-hit game in the past four outings.
Griffitt, Matt Hicks and Kellogg combined to allow only one earned run, lowering the pitching staff's ERA back below 4.00.
The Warhawks were held to a 2-for-22 showing off of Griffitt. Combined with Jordan Harrison's 4-for-18 effort on Thursday, Cajuns lefthanders have held La.-Monroe hitters to 6-for-40 (.150) in the series.
Clowers' winning tally in the 11th inning secured the Warhawks' third Sun Belt series victory at "The Tigue" in as many tries. The Cajuns are 2-6 in SBC play at home against their in-state brethren.
The contest moved rather quickly as Griffitt and Wine traded zeros from the first through sixth inning.
La.-Monroe broke the scoreless tie in the top of the seventh on Abdalla's RBI triple.
The Cajuns evened the contest at 1-all in the bottom half of the seventh as Dylan Butler came around to score from second on a single to left center by Bourque. With one out, Butler reached on a single to third. He then moved to second on a Tyler Girouard walk.
A scoreless duel between ace relievers ensued as both Kellogg and Browning entered in the eighth inning and held the opposition scoreless until the wild pitch in the 11th inning gave the Warhawks the lead.
BASES NOTED: Chris Griffitt's 11 strikeouts tied the season-high by a Cajuns pitcher, matching the total Jordan Harrison rung up on Western Kentucky on April 8...The five double plays turned by La.-Monroe were a season-high for a Cajuns opponent...The outcome marked the 18th one-run game played by UL in 2012, with the squad falling to 9-9 in that situation...It marked the 29th game decided by two runs or less (14-15)...Matt Hicks made his team-leading 26th appearance, moving within three appearances of the all-time single season Top 5...Chris Griffitt picked up his fourth quality start and second in succession...Over this last two outings, Griffitt has tossed 12 1/3 innings and allowed only eight hits while surrendering three earned runs...La.-Monroe trimmed the Cajuns lead in SBC regular season play to 12-11...The Warhawks have now won six of the last seven meetings at "The Tigue"...UL is offering the third and final Season Ticket Redemption Night of the 2012 season on Saturday, with all unused season tickets from games 1-27 being eligible for redemption for additional ones to Saturday's contest.
La.-Monroe 2, Louisiana 1 (May 18, 2012 at Lafayette, La.)
La.-Monroe.......... 000 000 100 01 - 2 5 1 (27-27, 14-15 SUN BELT)
Louisiana........... 000 000 100 00 - 1 10 1 (23-29, 11-18 SUN BELT)
Pitchers: La.-Monroe - Wine, Cale; Browning, Wil (8). Louisiana - Griffitt, Chris; Hicks, Matt (7); Kellogg, Caleb (8)
Win-Browning, Wil (6-3) Loss-Kellogg, Caleb (3-4) T-2:51 A-1891
Weather: 88, Sunny, W @ 1 MPH
Wine, C faced 1 batter in the 8th.