TROY, Ala. – Easton Kirk, Brandon Schrepf and Trey Leonard each hit two-run home runs while Garrett Gainous and Kyle Gamble combined to handcuff the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team in a 7-1 victory in the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams on Friday at Riddle-Pace Field.
The series resumes on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 3 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).
With the top four hitters in the lineup going a combined 0-for-14 at the plate, it was the bottom five hitters that picked up the slack for Troy (12-5, 1-0 Sun Belt) beginning in the second inning after Seth Johnson’s infield single. One batter later, Kirk would give the Trojans a 2-0 lead when he hit a 3-and-2 pitch from Louisiana starter Tommy Ray (1-2) over the right-field wall.
Louisiana (9-8, 0-1 Sun Belt) would close the gap to 2-1 in the third inning after Julian Brock doubled just inside the third-base line and scored when Warnner Rincones singled to right.
Troy extended its lead to 3-1 in the third after Donovan Whibbs led off with a double to right, moved to third on a grounder and scored on Jesse Hall’s sacrifice fly to center.
The Trojans increased their lead to 5-1 in the fourth after Johnson reached on a Ragin’ Cajuns error and scored when Schrepf hit a 3-and-2 pitch from Ray over the left field fence.
Louisiana, which had its two-game win streak snapped, threatened in the sixth after Will Veillon and Kyle DeBarge led off with singles. Gainous, who scattered five hits and struck out six in 6.0 innings of work, would get out of the inning as he got Tyler Robertson to hit into a double play before getting Carson Roccaforte to ground out to second.
Leonard added his first home run of the season in the bottom half of the sixth inning – the Trojans’ lone hit over the final four innings – a two-run shot down the right-field line off Louisiana reliever David Christie before Gamble pitched the final three innings with five strikeouts to earn his third save.
Ray allowed five runs – four earned – and fanned three in 4.0 innings of work for Louisiana with Christie and Austin Perrin combining to allow one hit with four strikeouts over the final four innings.
Roccaforte and Connor Kimple each added doubles for Louisiana, which held a 7-6 advantage in hits. Heath Hood added a fourth-inning single to extend his hitting streak to seven games.
Louisiana will send left-hander Brandon Talley (0-1, 3.71 ERA) to the mound in Saturday’s contest with Troy countering with freshman right-hander Brady Fuller (2-1, 4.24 ERA).
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