LAFAYETTE – Kyle DeBarge went 3-for-4 at the plate, hitting a pair of two-run home runs, and Louisiana got off to a fast start before holding off High Point, 8-6, in the opening game of a three-game series on Friday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
Heath Hood extended his hit streak to 13 games while Jake Hammond pitched five innings in earning his first win of the season as Louisiana (9-4) collected nine hits and won its third straight game.
DeBarge helped Louisiana get off to a 3-0 start in the first inning after Carson Roccaforte reached on a one-out error and scored two batters later on Julian Brock’s sacrifice fly to right. The sophomore belted a 1-and-0 pitch from HPU starter Sam Garcia (0-3) over the left center-field fence for his first home run of the season.
Louisiana added a run in the third when Hood led off the inning with a bunt single, moved to second on an error before scoring on Peyton LeJeune’s sacrifice bunt up the first base line.
High Point (5-8) cut into the lead in the fifth when Jack Pokorak led off with a homer to center before Cael Chatham hit a two-out double to right to drive in Javon Fields. Hammond (1-1), who allowed five hits and tied a career-high with six strikeouts, would get out of the jam as he fanned HPU cleanup hitter Adam Stuart to end the inning.
Brock gave Louisiana a 5-2 lead in the sixth when his RBI single to left scored Roccaforte, who lined a one-out double to right. The Panthers would close to within 5-4 in the eighth when Stuart reached on a leadoff error and scored when Blake Sutton hit his eighth home run of the season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns answered in the bottom half of the eighth as Brock hit a two-out single to center, scoring Roccaforte, before DeBarge hit his second home run of the game – a two-run blast to left off HPU reliever Braden Halladay.
Carson Fluno pitched 3.1 innings and allowed a pair of hits with five strikeouts for Louisiana before Blake Marshall pitched the final 0.2 innings to record his second save.
Brock finished 2-for-3 with three RBI for Louisiana while Hood was 2-for-5 with a stolen base. Chatham and Brett Ahalt had two hits apiece for High Point, which recorded eight hits in the game and committed six errors in the field.
The three-game series resumes on Saturday with a 2 p.m. contest which will be streamed live on ESPN+ and heard on KPEL-FM (96.5) and on-line on the Varsity Network app. Louisiana will send right-hander Brendan Moody (0-1) to the mound with HPU countering with southpaw Brett Wozniak (0-0).
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