TROY, Ala. – Bay Witcher and a pair of relievers combined on a six-hitter, and Troy completed a three-game sweep of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, 8-3, in the finale of the opening Sun Belt Conference series for both teams on Sunday at Riddle-Pace Field.
William Sullivan and Donovan Whibbs had two hits apiece as Troy (14-5, 3-0 Sun Belt) won its eighth straight game and improved to 11-1 at home. Louisiana, which will conclude a five-game road trip on Tuesday in a 6:30 p.m. contest at Nicholls, dropped to 9-10 overall and 0-3 in SBC play.
Troy took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after Seth Johnson led off with a single to second off Louisiana starter Jeff Wilson (1-1) and eventually scored on Easton Kirk's bases-loaded grounder to second.
After Wilson fanned Trey Leonard for the second out of the inning, Whibbs drew a walk to load the bases before Sullivan beat out a slow roller to second. The throw by Kyle DeBarge would skip past Carson Roccaforte, allowing Cameron Gray and Clay Stearns to score and increasing Troy's lead to 3-0.
Louisiana manufactured a run in the fourth inning to cut the deficit to 3-1 after DeBarge led off with a walk, stole second, moved to third on Roccaforte's liner to the left-field fence, and scored on Heath Hood's grounder to second.
The Trojans would respond with four hits in the bottom half of the inning as Gray led off with a single and scored on Stearns double to right and throwing error. Leonard added an RBI single to score Stearns and increase Troy's lead to 5-1 before Jesse Hall hit a sacrifice fly to left to drive in Leonard.
Connor Kimple would cut the deficit in half for Louisiana after hitting a two-out triple off the right-field wall, scoring DeBarge and Hood who each reached on walks.
Witcher (2-1) pitched 5.0 innings for Troy, scattering five hits and striking out one. Grayson Stewart – the third pitcher of the day for the Trojans – pitched the final 3.1 innings with no hits and three strikeouts to earn his first save.
Dylan Theut, who relieved Wilson in the fourth inning, tossed 3.0 innings of hitless ball for Louisiana with a pair of strikeouts while Jake Hammond fanned two in 1.1 innings. Kimple led Louisiana at the plate going 2-for-4. Roccaforte, Will Veillon, and redshirt freshman Conor Higgs each had base hits for the Ragin' Cajuns with Warnner Rincones going 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to five games.
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