MONROE – Max Marusak recorded his first career five-hit game and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team built a 10-1 lead and cruised to a 12-4 win over ULM in a Sun Belt Conference game on Saturday at Lou St. Amant Field.
Carson Fluno (1-0), in his second career start, scattered eight hits and fanned eight to earn his first win in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform while Carson Roccaforte and Kyle DeBarge set the tone early with home runs for Louisiana (31-17, 13-10 SBC).
The final game of the three-game series is slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with fans able to listen to the game in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.
Fluno pitched a season-best 5.1 innings for Louisiana, opening with a leadoff walk to Shawn Weatherbee before striking out the side in the first.
Julian Brock led off the second inning for Louisiana with a double off ULM starter Cam Barlow (3-5) before Roccaforte launched his third homer of the season for an early 2-0 lead. Marusak, who was 5-for-5 with three RBI, reached on a bunt single, stole second and eventually scored on a wild pitch to cap a three-run inning for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
DeBarge, who was 3-for-4 at the plate, led off a four-run, third inning when he drilled the first pitch from Barlow over the left-field fence for his fifth home run of the season. Heath Hood would reach on an error, steal second and score on an throwing error to give Louisiana a 5-1 lead before John Taylor recorded a sacrifice fly and Marusak reached on a second bunt single to drive in Roccaforte.
Marusak drove in his third run of the day in the fifth when his single got past a drawn-in, infield and allowing Roccaforte to score. Taylor, who reached on a single and stole second, would eventually score on CJ Willis’ RBI grounder for a 9-1 cushion.
ULM (16-31, 5-17 SBC) scored once in the second inning on Cardell Thibodeaux’s RBI single to right before scoring three times in the sixth to get to within 10-4. Thibodeaux drove in Jarrett McDonald with an RBI single before Travis Washburn hit an RBI single and Matt Abshire drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.
Louisiana added a pair of runs in the ninth when Roccaforte hit an opposite-field single to drive in Brock before scoring on Marusak’s triple off the left-center field fence.
Taylor, Brock and Roccaforte recorded two hits apiece as Louisiana collected 15 hits off four ULM pitchers. The Ragin’ Cajuns added four stolen bases in the game to increase their season total to 137 – one shy of last season’s total and eight shy of tying the school-record (145) set in 1991 and 2002.
McDonald went 3-for-4 to lead ULM at the plate with Thibodeaux and Jake Haggard has two hits each. Barlow took the loss for the Warhawks after scattering seven hits and allowing seven runs – four earned – in 4.0 innings of work.
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.
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