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Dukes Get Walk-Off To Claim Wild 10-8 Win Over Cajuns

Four lead changes in final two innings capped off by three-run homer
Posted at 10:24 PM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 23:24:35-04

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Jaylon Lee’s pinch-hit, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning helped James Madison claim a 10-8 victory over the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns on Friday in the first game of a Sun Belt Conference series at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.

JMU (21-16, 6-8 SBC) built a 4-0 lead after five innings and 5-3 after six before Louisiana (26-13, 10-6 SBC) scored twice in the seventh to tie the game at 5-5.

The Ragin’ Cajuns would take their first lead of the game in the eighth in Will Veillon’s RBI single to left to drive in Kyle DeBarge before the Dukes scored twice with a leadoff homer by Jason Schiavone and RBI triple by Jack Cone to reclaim the lead.

Louisiana would regain the lead in the ninth after Heath Hood singled up the middle before being retired at second on Conor Higgs’ fielder’s choice. Julian Brock would follow as he delivered a two-run blast to left-center off JMU reliever Donovan Burke for an 8-7 lead.

Kyle Novak led off the ninth for the Dukes with a walk before moving to second on Trevon Dabney’s sacrifice bunt. Blake Marshall (2-1) then retired Ryan Dooley with a pop-up into foul territory before issuing a walk to Schiavone to put runners on first and second.

Lee then followed with his fourth home run of the season as he belted a 2-and-1 pitch from reliever JT Etheridge for the game-winning hit.

JMU scored runs in its first four innings off Louisiana starter Cooper Rawls before the Ragin’ Cajuns answered with three runs in the sixth to cut into the lead. Carson Roccaforte drew a leadoff walk and moved to second when Hood was hit by a pitch off JMU starter Ryan Ertlschweiger.

Higgs then followed with a triple into the right-field corner and Brock drew a walk to chase Ertlschweiger. Two batters later, DeBarge hit a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Higgs for a 4-3 contest.

Louisiana trailed 5-3 in the seventh before tying the game off JMU’s Joe Vogatsky. John Taylor drew a leadoff walk for the Ragin’ Cajuns before Roccaforte lined a one-out double down the right-field line.

Hood, who finished 2-for-4 at the plate, then singled up the middle to drive in both runners before eventually getting thrown out at home when Higgs singled up the middle.

Matt Kleinfelter (4-0) claimed the win for JMU after tossing the final 0.2 innings. Mike Mancini went 3-for-4 and scored twice for the Dukes before being pulled for Lee in the ninth.

Max Marusak went 3-for-5 with a stolen base for Louisiana while Hood, Higgs and DeBarge each collected a pair of hits.

Rawls, making his second start of the season, scattered nine hits and allowed four runs in 4.1 innings for Louisiana before giving way to southpaw Steven Cash in the fifth.

The series resumes on Saturday in a 5 p.m. CT game. The game, originally slated for a 3 p.m. CT start, was pushed back two hours due to expected rain in the Harrisonburg area on Saturday. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ and fans in the Lafayette area can listen to the contest on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.

Single-game tickets are available by visiting the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome or purchasing by visiting Account Manager []. 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 [] for iOS/Apple platforms and here [] for Android platforms.

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