LAFAYETTE – Connor Kimple went 3-for-5 at the plate and delivered a bases-loaded, walk-off single in the ninth inning to help Louisiana claim a 4-3 victory over UT Arlington in the opening game of a three-game, Sun Belt Conference series on Friday at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Kyle DeBarge went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs while Carson Roccaforte and Tyler Robertson each collected base hits as Louisiana (26-17, 15-7 SBC) won its 12th game in the last 15 contests while recording its third walk-off win of the season.
Brandon Talley pitched 5.1 innings and fanned seven batters for the Ragin' Cajuns before Bo Bonds held UTA (14-32, 6-16 SBC) in check over the final 3.2 innings allowing one hit and striking out five.
Kimple, who reached on a triple and single in his first two at-bats, singled through the right side past a diving Tyler Rice to drive in Heath Hood and help Louisiana improve to 4-4 in one-run games on the season.
DeBarge led off the final inning with a single-off UTA reliever David Moffat (2-7) and advanced second when Rice bobbled Hood's chopper to second for an error. The Ragin' Cajuns then loaded the bases when Jonathan Brandon drew a walk before DeBarge was thrown out at the plate on Warnner Rincones' fielder's choice.
Louisiana broke open a pitcher's duel in the fourth inning when Robertson tripled into the left-center field gap and scored on DeBarge's sacrifice bunt up the first-base line.
UTA scored all of its runs in the sixth inning after Wilson Galvan's two-run double to center chased Talley and Matt Cavanagh greeted Bonds with an RBI single through the right side.
DeBarge, who committed his first error in a 23-game span that allowed the Mavs to take the lead, redeemed himself in the bottom half of the inning when he lined a two-out single up the middle to drive in a pair of runs.
Roccaforte hit a one-out single up the middle to extend his hitting streak to a career-high-tying eight games and immediately stole second. He moved to third on Julian Brock's grounder to short before Robertson reached on a two-out walk and moved to second on a stolen base.
DeBarge would tie the game when he hit a 3-and-2 pitch from UTA starter Tanner King up the middle to drive in Roccaforte and Robertson and help Louisiana regain momentum.
UTA would put a runner on to lead the ninth when Cavanagh drew a walk before Bonds fanned Rice for the first out. Bonds (3-2) would then start an inning-ending double play when he would fan Cade Sumbler for the second out before Brock threw out Cavanagh trying to steal.
Tanner Rice went 2-for-3 to lead UTA at the plate. King pitched seven innings for the Mavs and scattered five hits with seven strikeouts before Moffat allowed a pair of hits and an unearned run in relief.
The series will resume on Saturday at 4 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), the Varsity Network, and the #GeauxCajuns app.
During Saturday's game, Our Lady of Lourdes will sponsor the annual "Strikeout for Stroke" contest with a special check presentation made at the conclusion of the game.
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