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Cajuns Set Tone Early, Blank BYU, 11-0

Louisiana posts back-to-back quality starts in shutout win
Kyle Debarge UL BSB.jpg
Posted at 10:46 PM, Feb 23, 2023

LAFAYETTE – Kyle DeBarge went 3-for-4 at the plate and set the tone early with a first-pitch double in a two-run, first inning and Tommy Ray and a pair of relievers scattered five hits as the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns blanked BYU, 11-0, on Thursday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

Carson Roccaforte and Mason Zambo had two hits each as Louisiana (4-1) collected 13 hits and scored multiple runs in four innings.

The third game of the four-game series is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. Louisiana will send right-hander Jake Hammond (0-0, 4.15 ERA) to the mound in his second career start with BYU (2-4) countering with right-hander Bryce Robison (0-0, 2.45 ERA).

The game can be heard in the Acadiana Region on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Radio Network and worldwide on the Varsity Network App. Live results will be available at CajunStats.com.

Louisiana scored twice in the first inning off BYU ace Jack Sterner (1-1) after DeBarge doubled down the right-field line and scored on a double play. Heath Hood, who followed DeBarge with an infield single, moved to second on a walk and third on the double play, would give Louisiana a 2-0 lead after scoring when Zambo was caught in a rundown on an attempted double steal.

One night after Brendan Moody tossed six solid innings on the mound in an eventual 4-3 win, it was Ray’s turn to shine as the junior scattered three hits and struck out four in a career-high 6.0 innings. Ray (1-0) set the Cougars down in order in the first inning and induced six groundball outs in earning his fourth career win.

“It was a complete game and it always starts with the guy on the bump,” Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs said. “It’s back-to-back nights that we’ve gotten a really good start on the mound. Tommy was tremendous. We needed that. We caught it and defended it extremely well and just shoved it back to our offense, and those guys came out with a great approach against a really good arm and they were able to execute their approach to a tee.”

Louisiana plated two more runs in the fourth inning for a 4-0 lead after Zambo and Caleb Stelly reached on one-out hits. The Ragin’ Cajuns used small ball to plate both runs off Sterner, who allowed eight runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings of work, as Zambo slid in under the tag on CJ Willis’ squeeze bunt before Stelly scored from third on Max Marusak’s sacrifice bunt back to the mound.

The Ragin’ Cajuns broke the game open in the fifth plating four runs beginning with Roccaforte’s RBI single to drive in DeBarge, who led off the frame with a double off the top of the left-field wall. Julian Brock would drive in Roccaforte with an RBI single to right before scoring from first on Zambo’s double to right to chase Sterner before pinch-hitter John Taylor would drive in Zambo with an RBI single.

DeBarge and Roccaforte each added RBI singles in a three-run eighth for Louisiana with Trey LaFleur adding a sacrifice fly.

JT Etheridge and Jerry Couch pitched the final three innings for Louisiana, scattering a pair of hits with a pair of strikeouts.

Ozzie Pratt hit his team-high seventh double of the season for BYU with Carter Foss allowing a hit with four strikeouts in 1.2 innings in relief.

Single-game tickets are available by visiting the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome or purchasing by visiting Account Manager [am.ticketmaster.com]. For more information call the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome at (337) 265-2104.

Fans are encouraged to stay engaged with the Ragin' Cajuns by downloading the #GeauxCajuns app. Click here [apps.apple.com] for iOS/Apple platforms and here [play.google.com] for Android platforms.

For the latest updates on Ragin' Cajuns baseball, follow on Facebook (RaginCajunsBaseball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsBSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsBSB) or check RaginCajuns.com.

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