LAFAYETTE – Six runs in the middle innings proved to be the deciding factor for Louisiana, which had to fight off a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth inning to preserve an 8-6 victory over No. 23 Texas in Sunday afternoon’s series finale.
Louisiana (1-2) took control of the game in the bottom of the second and never looked back, scoring all eight of its runs in the first six innings of the game.
“Today’s win will give us some good momentum heading into our first midweek game of the season,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “Overall, I was very pleased with the effort, not just today, but all weekend. We were two hits away from taking the first two games, but that is baseball. I am proud of how the guys competed against a very good opponent. I also want to thank our crowd for their support during this series. They were outstanding and really brought the extra energy that we needed, especially during today’s win.”
Junior Dalton Horton earned the victory in his Louisiana debut, pitching five solid innings and allowing just three hits to five strikeouts. It was Horton’s first collegiate win since he earned the victory against Stephen F. Austin on May 17, 2016 while pitching at TCU.
Newcomer Chance Stone provided a big boost out of the bullpen, throwing 2.1 innings of one-hit ball to help quell Texas’ offense late in the game. Austin Bradford secured the final two outs, both via strikeout, to secure the victory and earn the save.
Offensively, the Ragin’ Cajuns were paced by Brennan Breaux, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI, and Todd Lott, who finished the game 1-for-2 on a big double down the left-field line. Gavin Bourgeois also sparked the offensive explosion with a team-best three RBI.
Texas’ (2-1) Coy Cobb was credited with the loss in the game after giving up four runs, three of which were earned, in 3.1 innings of work.
Louisiana got going early, taking its first lead of the series in the bottom of the opening frame when Daniel Lahare made his way across the plate as Hunter Kasuls stole second base. That run was quickly matched by Texas in the top of the following inning on a throwing error to knot the game up at a run apiece.
Breaux scored the Ragin’ Cajuns’ next run in the bottom of the second inning, coming home on a sacrifice bunt to put the home team ahead, 2-1. Those two runs quickly became four in the fourth inning when a Lott double scored Breaux for the second time in the game and Lahare flied out to left to score Lott and open a 4-1 lead.
The hot batting continued into the fifth frame when a bases-loaded walk plated Hayden Cantrelle for the first score of the inning. Lott then sent a ball deep into left field on the next pitch, which allowed Handsome Monica to tag up and score from third base to extend the lead to 5-1 with only one out.
Bourgeois doubled the scoring in the fifth two batters later, singling up the middle to score both Breaux and Jordan Wiley to complete the four spot and put Louisiana ahead comfortably, 8-1.
That comfort level disappeared in the top of the seventh inning, though, when Texas produced a four-spot of its own with the help of a three-run shot over the left field wall to cut the lead to 8-5 with two innings to play.
The Longhorns had another opportunity in the top of the final inning to do some damage and nearly did so with the bases loaded when a run was walked in to tighten the margin to 8-6. However, Bradford came in and was able to strike out two batters to earn the Ragin’ Cajuns their first win of 2019.
Louisiana returns to action on Tuesday, February 19, when it makes the short drive north to Ruston to face off with in-state foe Louisiana Tech. First pitch from Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field is slated for 6 p.m.
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