Posted: Mar 30, 2013 9:50 AM by UL Sports Information
WKU erased Louisiana's lead five times and snuck out a 10-9 victory in 11 innings in the opening game of a Sun Belt Conference baseball series here Friday evening at Nick Denes Field.
An RBI single by Regan Flaherty in the eighth inning pulled WKU (15-11, 6-1 Sun Belt) out of an 8-7 deficit and into extra innings. After Louisiana (18-7, 3-4 Sun Belt) grabbed a 9-8 lead in the 10th inning on a Blake Trahan double, a Ryan Messex sacrifice fly in the bottom half forged another tie.
In the bottom of the 11th inning a two-out walk-off single by Flaherty gave the Hilltoppers the victory in a contest in which the Cajuns committed four errors and Matt Hicks had a rare miss in a save opportunity.
Trahan's double in the top half of the 10th inning was a wild pitch away from being the winning hit for the Cajuns. The wild pitch, on an intentional walk to Ryan Huck, moved a WKU runner from second to third base. The next two outs recorded were fly ball outs.
The two teams wrap up the three-game SBC series with a Saturday doubleheader at 1 p.m. necessitated by expected inclement weather on Sunday.
Tyler Girouard extended his career-best hit streak to 10 games, Dex Kjerstad posted a multi-hit game for the sixth straight outing and Michael Strentz collected his second four-hit game of the season.
The two teams combined for 19 runs and 30 base hits. Both teams used three relievers and their top reliever threw multiple innings as the Cajuns Matt Hicks pitched 2 2/3 innings and WKU's Ian Tompkins pitched three innings.
Louisiana scored first netting runs on a Caleb Adams groundout and Strentz double in the first inning. Three Cajuns errors in the bottom of the first inning handed the Hilltoppers three unearned runs.
Ryan Wilson and Austin Clay settled in after an opening inning that saw both throw 20-plus pitches and last 30 minutes by trading scoreless frames from the second through fourth inning.
After swapping runs in the fifth inning, the Cajuns pulled into a 4-all tie in the sixth inning on a Ryan Leonards double that was the result of WKU center fielder David Simmons slipping in the outfield that was saturated from persistent showers earlier in the day.
A Taylor Haydel throwing error to second base on a check swing grounder back to the mound by Adams resulted in Louisiana scoring two runs in the seventh inning and grabbing a 6-4 lead.
The outfield surface came into play for Louisiana in the bottom of the seventh inning as Seth Harrison slipped on a fly ball from Scott Wilcox giving WKU the leadoff runner on second base.
Hicks was brought in to preserve the lead and might have done so without allowing a run as he induced a pair of ground outs that would have resulted in the third out had it not been for the wet surface causing Harrison to slip.
Instead the Hilltoppers were able to gain a 7-6 lead following a two-run pinch hit single from Adam Lavelle and change the flow of the game.
Louisiana answered back in the eighth inning getting two-out hits from pinch hitter Jace Conrad and Tyler Girouard to score runs for an 8-7 advantage.
Flaherty's first RBI single of the contest drew an 8-all tie in the eighth inning, WKU used a pickoff to erase a leadoff runner for the Cajuns in the ninth and Kody Smith notched a strikeout with Hilltoppers on second and third base in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.
BASES NOTED: The game lasted exactly four hours, the Cajuns longest game of the season...Louisiana played extra innings for the first time in 2013...The Cajuns were handed their fourth straight Sun Belt defeat, a streak that began with last weekend's series loss at Middle Tennessee...WKU gained a 13-12 series edge at Nick Denes Field...The Cajuns pitching staff surrendered two three-run innings and have now allowed nine three-run innings since last Tuesday's Southern game...Matt Hicks failed to convert a save for the first time this season (was 8-for-8 entering the series)...The two teams combined to strand 26 base runners (WKU 15, UL 11)...Head coach Tony Robichaux coached his 500th career Sun Belt game.
WKU 10, Louisiana 9 (Mar 29, 2013 at Bowling Green, Ky.)
Louisiana........... 200 011 220 10 - 9 15 4 (18-7, 3-4 SUN BELT)
WKU................. 300 010 310 11 - 10 15 2 (15-11, 6-1 SUN BELT)
Pitchers: Louisiana - Wilson, Ryan; Hicks, Matt (7); Smith, Kody (9); Zaunbrecher, Nick (11). WKU - Clay, Austin; Haydel, Taylor (7); Pearson, Brennan (8); Tompkins, Ian (9)
Win-Tompkins, Ian(3-3) Loss-Smith, Kody(0-2) T-4:00 A-184
HR WKU - Huck, Ryan (8)
Weather: 49, cloudy, ENE @ 4 MPH
Wilson, R faced 1 batter in the 7th
Pearson faced 1 batter in the 9th