Feb 23, 2013 12:06 AM by UL Sports Information
On one of the most prolific offensive performances in nearly four years, the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team peppered UTSA by an 18-6 count in the opening game of a weekend series at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Ten different Cajuns posted a hit - with four-hit efforts from Dex Kjerstad and Blake Trahan - leading to a 20-hit attack which marked the most hits since 22 at UNO on May 16, 2009.
The 18 runs Louisiana scored marked the most generated since posting 18 on Alcorn State March 9, 2010.
The Cajuns (5-1) scored in each of the first five innings in storming out to a 13-4 lead and never looked back in handing UTSA (5-1) its first defeat of the 2013 season.
Head coach Tony Robichaux picked up career win No. 899 placing him on the doorstep of 900 career victories, an accomplishment assured of happening at "The Tigue" as eight more games remain on the season-opening, 14-game homestand that runs through March 5.
A career-high six RBI by Dylan Butler led the charge for the Cajuns. Trahan, a true freshman, extended his career-opening hitting streak to five games and produced three RBI.
Gaudy offensive numbers stole the show, but it was the late inning relief from Matt Plitt, Kody Smith and Kendall Mayer which quieted the Roadrunners after the visitors drew within 13-6. The trio combined to hold the Roadrunners hitless and retired UTSA in order each of the final three innings.
The two teams continue the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. in a MyKLAF telecast that will be simulcast on ESPN3.com. New Iberia native Cody Boutte (1-0, 4.50 ERA) is scheduled to start for Louisiana and he'll be opposed by UTSA's Brock Hartson (0-0, 2.08 ERA).
Once again the Cajuns offense delivered a swift blow to put the opposition away, turning in the season's third inning of seven-plus runs in the fourth inning.
It was a nine-run frame that buried Northwestern State in the fourth inning on Wednesday. On Friday, the Cajuns produced seven runs in the fourth inning to chase away the Roadrunners.
Trahan triggered the scoring spree leading off the inning with his first collegiate home run over the left field fence into the pine trees for a 4-2 lead.
A Seth Harrison single and back-to-back hit batsman (Michael Strentz and Jace Conrad) loaded the bases. Runs would score on a throwing error and a Chase Compton sacrifice fly upping the lead to 6-2.
Butler followed with a double down the left field line to plate two more runs and chase UTSA reliever Jordan Pacheco. Douglas Sefcik III was greeted by three consecutive singles that resulted in another pair of runs and opened a 10-2 edge.
The Roadrunners picked up two runs in the top of the fifth on a two-run single by John Bormann, but Butler countered with a three-run home run in the Cajuns half of the frame to increase the lead to 13-4.
After UTSA scored twice off of Cord Cockrell in the sixth, the Cajuns batted around and produced five runs off of six hits in the seventh inning to finish off the scoring.
For the second straight outing and third time this season the Cajuns were able to empty the bench. Sixteen different players made at least one plate appearance.
Louisiana avenged a 5-2 loss to UTSA and starting pitcher Michael Kraft at last season's UTSA Baseball Classic in San Antonio. That day, Kraft held UL to one run on three hits over six innings. One year later, the Cajuns touched Kraft for three runs on five hits and he departed after 2 1/3 innings of work.
UL and UTSA met at "The Tigue" for the first time since February 2001 when the two programs opened that season with a three-game set. The Cajuns remained undefeated (7-0) against the Roadrunners in weekend series (swept series in 2001 and 2007).
Both teams used extra base hits to drive home single runs in the first inning. The Cajuns grabbed their first lead in the bottom of the second after Harrison drew a bases loaded walk from Kraft.
A Daniel Rockett triple in the third inning resulted in an equalizing run for UTSA, only to have the Cajuns answer in the bottom half. A dropped infield fly, hit by pitch and passed ball gave the Cajuns a runner on third base. Butler then followed with a sacrifice fly as UL reclaimed the lead for good.
BASES NOTED: Chase Traffica was the series opening pitcher for the second straight weekend...Dylan Butler's six RBI marked the most by a Cajun since Matt Goulas' seven RBI vs. UNO on May 16, 2008 at "The Tigue"...Butler's previous career-high for RBI was four against Southern on March 13, 2012 at "The Tigue"...Louisiana unleashed three home runs in a single game for the first time since hitting four at ULM on May 20, 2011...Adding in the nine-run frame against Northwestern State, the Cajuns have produced 16 runs in the fourth inning the past two contests...Dex Kjerstad and Blake Trahan both finished 4-for-5 and join Seth Harrison (4-for-6 in season opener) as Cajuns with four-hit games this season...Matt Plitt (5 2/3 innings), Kody Smith (5 innings) and Kendall Mayer (3 innings) all extended their season-opening scoreless relief streaks...The Cajuns scored at least five runs for the fifth time in six outings and produced double digits for the third time (12 vs. CMU on Feb. 15 and 12 vs. Northwestern State on Feb. 20).
Louisiana 18, UTSA 6 (Feb 22, 2013 at Lafayette, La.)
UTSA................ 101 022 000 - 6 11 3 (5-1)
Louisiana........... 111 730 50X - 18 20 2 (5-1)
Pitchers: UTSA - Kraft, Michael; Pacheco, Jordan(3); Sefcik III, Douglas(4); Walker, Matt(5); Langley, Jordan(7). Louisiana - Traffica, Chase; Cockrell, Cord(5); Plitt, Matt(7); Smith, Kody(8); Mayer, Kendall(9)
Win-Cockrell, Cord (3-0) Loss-Kraft, Michael (0-1) T-3:26 A-1877
HR UL - Strentz, Michael (1); Butler, Dylan (1); Trahan, Blake (1)
Weather: 65, cloudy, NE @ 11 MPH