LAFAYETTE (Press Release) – Late offensive heroics in both contests led to two exciting walk-off victories for the Louisiana baseball team, which swept Maryland in Saturday’s doubleheader, 4-3 and 2-1, respectively, at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-7) needed 14 innings to decide the first game on Saturday, its longest extra-innings affair since going 14 frames on February 20, 2017, at Southeastern Louisiana, while Louisiana needed two ninth-inning runs in the second game to complete the Saturday sweep.
After struggling in tight games early in the season, Louisiana is now 2-3 in one-run games and 1-2 in extra-inning contests.
Eight different players recorded a hit for Louisiana across the two games, with Sebastian Toro and Handsome Monica each producing multi-hit efforts. Toro was responsible for two of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ three RBI on the evening, the other coming from O’Neal Lochridge.
Freshmen Connor Cooke and Blake Schultz each earned their first career victories as Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday. Cooke closed out Game One with 1.0 innings pitched and a strikeout, whereas Schultz saw 2.1 innings of action, allowing just two hits and striking out three batters in Game Two.
Maryland’s (6-4) Sean Fisher and Sean Heine suffered the losses in the two games.
Five scoreless innings to start the game from Dalton Horton was bolstered by two runs in the bottom of the second inning when Toro smacked a two-run single up the middle to plate Todd Lott and Orynn Veillon and put Louisiana ahead, 2-0.
The Ragin’ Cajuns ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning, though, when Maryland’s Chris Alleyne hit a triple to left field to plate a run before being brought home himself via a sacrifice bunt to tie the game up.
Maryland took its first lead of the game in the top of the next frame with the help of an RBI double off the bat of Benjamin Cowles to put the Terrapins up 3-2 late in the game.
Looking to avoid more late-inning heartbreak, Louisiana went to work and eventually loaded the bases before a passed ball scored Gavin Bourgeois from third to tie the game at 3-3. With two runners in scoring position, the Ragin’ Cajuns were in good shape to win the game in nine innings but were unable to move the runners.
Over the next four innings, Louisiana had plenty of chances to win the game, but could not advance any of the five base runners it put on during that stretch to claim the victory.
It was not until the bottom of the 14th inning that the game was won when a fielding error on the Maryland shortstop allowed Daniel Lahare to come home and clinch a 4-3 walk-off win.
After a wild finish in the opening game, things cooled off in the second part of the doubleheader as both teams went scoreless through four innings. It was Maryland who struck first in Game Two when Sebastian Holte-Mancera scored following a sacrifice bunt by his teammate, Kody Milton, to put the Terps ahead, 1-0.
Louisiana was unable to get anything going offensively until the bottom of the ninth inning when Lochridge produced a single to score Adam Mitchell and advance Hayden Cantrelle to third, tying the game at 1-1 with no outs.
A sacrifice bunt by Lott advanced Lochridge to second base before Brennan Breaux was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out and Toro coming up to bat. Needing to get the ball in play, the catcher hit a bouncing ball right to the first baseman, but an errant throw allowed Cantrelle to take home and secure the Saturday sweep, 2-1.
Louisiana returns to action on Tuesday night when its travels to Thibodaux for a midweek game at Nicholls State. First pitch from Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field is slated for 6 p.m.