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Cajuns Stay Patient, Rally To Earn Sweep of Texas State, 8-3

Louisiana gets six-run, fifth inning; capitalize on freebies to close out home schedule
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Posted at 7:21 PM, May 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-14 20:21:36-04

LAFAYETTE – CJ Willis collected two of his three hits in a six-run, fifth inning and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns rallied from an early three-run deficit to defeat Texas State, 8-3, and complete a three-game sweep in the home finale on Sunday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

Louisiana (35-18, 17-10 SBC), which earned its first-ever sweep of Texas State (33-19, 15-12 SBC) in the 49-game series between the schools, was held to one hit through the first four innings and trailed 3-1.

Willis, who went 3-for-4 for the Ragin’ Cajuns, led off the fifth inning with a single to right off Texas State starter Tony Robie (5-3) before Heath Hood delivered a two-out single through the left side. Conor Higgs drew a walk to load the bases for Louisiana before Bobcat reliever Triston Dixon hit Julian Brock with a pitch to cut the lead to 3-2.

Carson Roccaforte and John Taylor then followed with bases-loaded walks to give Louisiana its first lead of the day, 4-3, before Will Veillon greeted Bobcat reliever Jack Stroud drove in Brock with an infield single and Willis followed with an RBI double into the left-field corner.

The Ragin’ Cajuns added their final run in the seventh when Veillon reached on a throwing error and moved to second before Willis delivered an RBI single up the middle off Texas State’s Cameron Bush.

Jerry Couch (1-1), one of eight pitchers used by Louisiana, earned his first win in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform after tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. The right-hander, who entered in the fifth inning after Texas State loaded the bases, got Davis Powell to fly out with the Bobcats holding a 3-1 lead.

Texas State, which stranded 15 runners overall, left two runners on base through the first four innings before leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings. The Bobcats threatened to cut into the deficit in the seventh after August Ramirez’s leadoff single before a hit batter and walk loaded the bases.

The Ragin’ Cajuns would hold as reliever JT Etheridge replaced Blake Marshall and get Powell to fly out to the left-field wall to salvage the inning.

Cooper Rawls pitched the final 2.0 innings for Louisiana and struck out four. Brendan Moody tossed 2.1 innings of scoreless relief in the early innings for the Ragin’ Cajuns after starter Jake Hammond was lifted after an inning and Steven Cash allowed a pair of runs in 1.1 innings.

Kyle DeBarge recorded Louisiana’s first hit of the game with a third-inning, single to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. Brock and Higgs drew a pair of walks for Louisiana, which benefited from eight walks, a pair of errors and a hit batsman issued by Texas State pitching.

Robie allowed three earned runs, struck out three and walked four in 4.2 innings for the Bobcats. Daylan Pena drove in a run in the first inning with a double while Cade Manning added a sacrifice fly and Kameron Weil an RBI grounder.

Louisiana, currently third in the SBC standings behind Coastal Carolina and nationally-ranked Southern Miss, will close out the regular season beginning on Thursday when it opens a three-game series in Hattiesburg, Miss., against USM at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field. First pitch for Thursday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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