LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team wraps up its 33-game home schedule beginning on Friday when it plays host to Texas State in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
First pitch for Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. The series resumes on Saturday at 4 p.m. before concluding on Sunday at 1. All three games will be streamed live on ESPN+ with fans able to listen to each game in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.
The weekend series against defending SBC regular-season champion Texas State (33-16, 15-9 SBC) will be a busy one as Louisiana (32-18, 14-10 SBC) will honor its graduation class in a pre-game ceremony on Saturday before honoring its eight-man senior class – Zack Crain (Manager), Jerry Couch, Jake Hammond, Heath Hood, Max Marusak, Cooper Rawls, Will Veillon and CJ Willis in a post-game ceremony on Saturday.
Sunday’s home finale will feature the annual Mother’s Day First Pitch with the Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball mothers throwing the ceremonial First Pitch to their sons.
Louisiana looks to remain in the upper half of the Sun Belt Conference standings after earning a three-game sweep last weekend at ULM. The Ragin’ Cajuns close out the regular-season beginning on Thursday with a three-game series (May 18-20) at nationally-ranked Southern Miss before defending their SBC Tournament championship from May 23-28 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Ala.
Six players – Conor Higgs (.395-5-25), Kyle DeBarge (.361-5-29), Hood (.349-4-31) and Julian Brock (.344-10-55), Carson Roccaforte (.331-3-37) and John Taylor (.326-6-39) – are hitting above .300 on the season for Louisiana.
Four players – Hood (32), Veillon (22), Roccaforte (20) and Marusak (20) – have stolen 20 or more bases on the season for the Ragin’ Cajuns, one of two Division I schools to achieve that feat.
Jackson Nezuh (7-4, 7.29 ERA) will earn the start in Friday’s opener for Louisiana with right-hander Carson Fluno (1-0, 5.06) taking the mound on Saturday. Hammond (3-3, 3.67 ERA) will start in Sunday’s finale for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Davis Powell (.369-5-29) leads Texas State at the plate with freshman Chase Mora (.325-15-48) leading the Bobcats in home runs. Jose Gonzalez (.285-11-50) leads the team in RBI with August Ramirez (.275-10-30) joining Mora and Gonzalez with 10-plus home runs.
Texas State will send right-hander Levi Wells (7-2, 4.57 ERA) to the mound on Friday with Zeke Wood (2-2, 4.63 ERA) taking the mound on Saturday. Right-hander Tony Robie (5-2, 3.91 ERA) will earn the start in Sunday’s game.
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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GAMES 51-53 PREVIEW
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (32-18, 14-10 SBC) vs. Texas State Bobcats (33-16, 15-9 SBC)
DATE/TIMES (dates and times are subject to change)
Friday – May 12, 6 p.m.
Saturday – May 13, 4 p.m.
Sunday – May 14, 1 p.m.
M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park (6,015) | Lafayette, La.
Pre-Game (Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball On-Field Graduation Ceremony)
Post-Game (Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball Senior Day Ceremony)
Pre-Game (Mother’s Day First Pitch)
Family Day (Anthem Buddies, Kids Run the Bases Post-Game)
FRIDAY – 6 p.m.
LOUISIANA | RH Jackson Nezuh (6-1, 180, Jr., St. Cloud, Fla.)
’23 Stats: 7-4, 7.29 ERA, 63.0 IP, 70 H, 54 R, 51 ER, 23 BB, 72 K, .285 OppBA
TEXAS STATE | RH Levi Wells (6-0, 191, Jr., La Porte, Texas)
’23 Stats: 7-2, 4.57 ERA, 61.0 IP, 58 H, 32 R, 31 ER, 25 BB, 79 K, .246 OppBA
SATURDAY – 4 p.m.
LOUISIANA | RH Carson Fluno (6-1, 185, Jr., Sun Prairie, Wis.)
’23 Stats: 1-0, 5.03 ERA, 3 Sv., 34.0 IP, 38 H, 23 R, 19 ER, 13 BB, 36 K, .275 OppBA
TEXAS STATE | RH Zeke Wood (6-4, 210, Sr., Paris, Texas)
’23 Stats: 2-2, 4.63 ERA, 46.2 IP, 43 H, 29 R, 24 ER, 20 BB, 54 K, .256 OppBA
SUNDAY – 1 p.m.
LOUISIANA | RH Jake Hammond (6-3, 230, Sr., Monroe, La.)
’23 Stats: 3-3, 3.67 ERA, 49.0 IP, 43 H, 23 R, 20 ER, 20 BB, 50 K, .243 OppBA
TEXAS STATE | RH Tony Robie (6-5, 210, Jr., Mansfield, Texas)
’23 Stats: 5-2, 3.91 ERA, 46.0 IP, 25 R, 20 ER, 20 BB, 41 K, .240 OppBA
Louisiana – Not ranked
Texas State – Receiving Votes (NCBWA)
RADIO (Pregame Show starts 30 minutes prior to first pitch)
Station – KPEL-FM (96.5) / The Varsity Network App
Talent – Jay Walker (pxp); Brad Topham (color)
Talent – Dan McDonald (pxp); Eric Mouton (color – Friday/Saturday); Brennan Breaux (color – Sunday)
Overall: Louisiana leads, 25-21
In Lafayette: Louisiana leads, 14-10
In San Marcos: Texas State leads, 10-5
Neutral Sites: Louisiana leads, 6-1
SBC Games: Texas State leads, 14-10
Last 10: Texas State, 7-3
• Louisiana will wrap up its 33-game home schedule beginning on Friday with a three-game Sun Belt Conference series against Texas State.
• Louisiana will honor its seven-man Senior Class - Jerry Couch, Jake Hammond, Heath Hood, Max Marusak, Cooper Rawls, Will Veillon and CJ Willis in a post-game ceremony on Saturday.
• Head coach Matt Deggs claimed his 100th win at Louisiana in an 8-2 win at Marshall on April 8.
• Cooper Rawls’ 10 wins on the mound in 2023 is tied for second nationally and equals the most by a Cajuns pitcher since Gunner Leger (10) in 2017.
• With four stolen bases on Tuesday at Louisiana Tech, Louisiana increased its season total to 148 on the season to break the school-record (145) set in both 1991 and 2002.
• Louisiana’s 148 stolen bases in 2023 mark the first time the Ragin’ Cajuns have stolen 100-plus bases in back-to-back seasons since 1999-2000 (110/125). Louisiana stole 138 bases in 2022.
• With 32 stolen bases, Heath Hood became the first Ragin’ Cajun since Nathan Nelson (33) in 2000 to eclipse 30+ steals in a season.
• Hood is one steal from tying Nelson for fifth and two from tying Papo Ramos (1992) for fourth in a season in school history.
• Louisiana is one of two Division I schools nationally with four players with 20+ steals in a season.
• Louisiana is third nationally in stolen bases (148) and 11th in fielding percentage (.981).
• Carson Roccaforte’s 21 doubles in 2023 are tied for the fifth-most in single-season in school history; with 42 career doubles, Roccaforte is three shy of tying Dylan Butler (2012-15) for fifth in school history.
• Max Marusak’s nine sacrifice bunts in 2023 are two shy of the single-season, school record shared by Tyler Robertson (2022), Seth Harrison (2014) and Josh Landry (2006).
• The Ragin’ Cajuns lead the Sun Belt Conference and are 10th in the nation in sacrifice flies (30).
• Hood is one triple shy of moving into a tie for fifth place (11) in school history with Ron Robicheaux (1983-86) and Major Swindler (1967-70).
• Roccaforte’s 59 career steals are the third-most in school history trailing Mickey Berry (69, 1977-78) and Papo Ramos (63, 1991-92).
• Hood’s 51 stolen bases are two shy of tying Ruben Rodriguez (1987-88) for sixth in school history.
• Louisiana ranks first in the SBC in fielding percentage (.981), doubles (111), sacrifice flies, shutouts (5), stolen bases, stolen bases per game, WHIP (1.37) and walks allowed per nine innings (4.23).
• Louisiana is 24-6 when scoring six or more runs per game and 26-7 when allowing five runs or less.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns have hit five grand slam home runs during the 2023 season (Julian Brock - 3, Conor Higgs - 1; Max Marusak - 1).
• The Ragin’ Cajuns are 15-3 in games decided by five runs or greater during the 2023 season.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns .981 fielding percentage is on pace to finish as the best mark in school history, eclipsing the previous best (.979) set in 2018.
• Louisiana’s 21 victories at #TheTigue in 2023 have surpassed the season total set last season (19 in 27 games).
WHAT’S ON DECK
• Louisiana closes out the 2023 regular season beginning on Thursday when it travels to Hattiesburg, Miss., to face SBC newcomer and co-leader Southern Miss in a three-game series at Pete Taylor Park/Hill Denson Field.
• First pitch for both Thursday and Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m. with Saturday’s regular-season finale set for 2 p.m. All three games will be streamed on ESPN+.
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