LAFAYETTE - Behind Connor Cooke’s complete game, two-hit shutout, Louisiana cruised to a 9-0 victory over Arkansas State, clinching the Sun Belt Conference series at M.L. ‘Tigue’ Moore Field at Russo Park on Saturday afternoon.
Cooke’s complete game, two-hit shutout is the first thrown by a Louisiana pitcher since Carson Baranik against Arkansas State on May 3, 2014, while the 12 strikeouts by Cooke tied for the second-most among pitchers who have thrown a two-hit complete game shutout in school history.
Louisiana (20-11, 7-1 SBC) collected nine hits on the day, eight of which came from eight starting players. CJ Willis was the lone non-starter to record a hit in the game, a three-run home run, his first as a Ragin’ Cajun.
Tyler Robertson and Brett Borgogno also smashed home runs, Robertson’s fifth of the season and Borgogno’s first as a Cajun.
Saturday was all about Cooke, though, who cut up the Arkansas State (8-16, 3-5 Sun Belt) and did not allow a hit until the seventh inning.
Louisiana gathered three runs in the bottom of the second inning, one on a wild pitch and two on an 11-pitch, two-out, two-run double from Connor Kimple.
From the third through sixth innings, Cooke went three-up, three-down, picking up six of his 12 strikeouts in those frames.
The Ragin’ Cajuns scored runs in the fifth through eighth innings, mostly on the long balls by Robertson, Borgogno and Willis, giving them a 9-0 lead heading into the top of the ninth.
On his 122nd pitch, Cooke was able to get Tyler Duncan to line out to Kevin Fitzgerald, who shifted over to shortstop, to throw the 19th complete game, two-hit shutout in school history.
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