LAFAYETTE – Max Marusak’s first career grand slam punctuated an eight-run first inning and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns added four more runs after Campbell chipped away at the lead for an eventual 14-7 victory in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
Carson Roccaforte went 2-for-5 with an RBI triple and made two highlight-reel catches in the seventh inning as Louisiana (7-4) salvaged the final game of the series against defending Big South champion Campbell (8-2).
Jackson Nezuh (1-0) pitched into the sixth inning for Louisiana, scattering eight hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in recording his first career victory in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform. The duo of Brendan Moody and Blake Marshall combined to hold the Fighting Camels hitless over the final 3.1 innings while the Louisiana offense would score three runs in the sixth and one in the eighth to pull away from a 10-7 lead.
Louisiana sent 11 men to the plate in the opening inning as Marusak would draw a walk and score on Roccaforte’s triple into the right-field corner. Heath Hood followed with an RBI single to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 2-0 lead before scoring two batters later when Lee Amedee laced a single up the middle.
John Taylor followed with a one-out, RBI single to plate Julian Brock before Luke Yuhasz reached on a fielding error to load the bases.
Two batters later, Marusak drilled a 3-and-1 pitch by Campbell starter Ernie Day (0-1) over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season and Louisiana’s first grand slam since Tyler Robertson against Little Rock on May 20, 2022.
After Campbell cut the lead to 8-2 in the fifth, Louisiana increased its lead to 10-2 when Taylor hit a two-out single and scored on Yuhasz’s first career homer with a blast to left off Fighting Camel reliever Cade Boxrucker.
Campbell struck for five runs in the sixth inning to close to within 10-7, sending 10 men to the plate and chasing Nezuh who was making his fourth career start and third for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Drake Pierson and Drew Winters each doubled to drive in runs and chase Nezuh before Logan Jordan, Lawson Harrill and Trenton Harris each drove in runs.
Marusak, who finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored and a stolen base, would give Louisiana an 11-7 lead when he led off with a bunt single, moved to third on Roccaforte’s double and scored on Hood’s infield grounder.
Kyle DeBarge would add a RBI single to left to plate Roccaforte before Taylor’s sacrifice fly to left would drive in Mason Zambo.
Roccaforte would help keep Campbell off the board in the seventh when he tracked down a deep liner to center by Tyler Halstead with a diving grab in front of the center-field fence before hauling in a deep drive to the wall by Jordan two batters later.
DeBarge, who had his streak of 70 consecutive starts snapped, would give Louisiana its final run when his sacrifice fly to center would drive in Hood, who led off the inning with a single before stealing second and third.
Marusak, Roccaforte, Hood and Taylor had two hits each to lead Louisiana, which collected 11 hits off six Fighting Camel pitchers. Halstead, Harrill and Jarrod Belbin had two hits apiece for Campbell.
Louisiana will return to action on Wednesday (March 8) when it continues its season-long, eight-game homestand with a midweek contest with McNeese. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. 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.
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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