MONROE – Jackson Nezuh recorded his third quality start of the season, scattering five hits and fanning six batters, while Julian Brock posted his second career four-hit game in leading the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to an 8-4 win over ULM in the Sun Belt Conference series opener between the teams on Friday at Lou St. Amant Field.
Heath Hood collected two hits and stole a pair of bases for Louisiana (30-17, 12-10 SBC) to become the first Ragin’ Cajun since Nathan Nelson in 2000 to steal 30 bases in a season. Conor Higgs had two hits, including a second-inning triple as Louisiana scored runs in three straight innings and defeated ULM (16-30, 5-16 SBC) for the sixth straight time in Monroe.
With expected inclement weather in the Monroe area in the evening, Saturday’s game has been pushed up to a 2 p.m. start. 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.
Higgs put Louisiana on the board in the second inning when he hit a leadoff triple off ULM starter Nicholas Judice (2-2) before scoring on Brock’s single to center. Higgs’ next at-bat resulted in Louisiana breaking a 1-1 tie in the third when his single to left scored Kyle DeBarge, who reached earlier on the first of four ULM errors.
Brock, who went 4-for-5 in a series sweep at Arkansas State on April 10, 2022, led off the fourth inning with an infield single before stealing second, moving to third on a ground out and scoring on John Taylor’s grounder to second.
Louisiana took a 5-1 lead in the sixth after Carson Roccaforte’s two-run double scored Higgs and Brock and chased Judice, who went 5.1 innings and allowed seven hits with six strikeouts in his second career start.
ULM picked up a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut Louisiana’s lead to 5-3 as Kade Dupont hit an RBI double and later scored on Shawn Weatherbee’s RBI single through the right side.
The Ragin’ Cajuns would respond in the seventh with a pair of unearned runs as they took advantage of a pair of Warhawk errors. Pinch-hitter Caleb Stelly led off the inning when he reached on a throwing error before reaching second on an error and advancing to third.
Stelly would score on Hood’s RBI fielder’s choice to put Louisiana ahead, 6-3, before Brock would drive in Hood with a two-out single to right.
Hood lined an RBI double down the left-field line to drive in DeBarge in the ninth for Louisiana before stealing his second base of the night – and 30th of the season – with a steal of third.
Nezuh (7-4), who earned his first win in a SBC game since pitching 6.2 innings at Marshall on April 8, pitched 7.0 innings and earned his third quality start of the season after allowing three earned runs. David Christie closed out the game on the mound for the Ragin’ Cajuns, allowing three hits with a strikeout in 2.0 innings.
Weatherbee, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, added a solo home run in the ninth for the Warhawks while Dupont went 2-for-4.
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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