THIBODAUX – Carson Roccaforte and Kyle DeBarge each belted solo home runs and the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns scored two runs in the ninth inning to rally from a two-run deficit, but Nicholls scored an unearned run in the bottom of the ninth to earn a walk-off 6-5 win on Wednesday at Ben Meyer Diamond at Ray E. Didier Field.
Edgar Alvarez’s one-out, fielder’s choice drove in Dane Simon and helped Nicholls (10-9) snap a five-game losing streak to Louisiana (9-11) dating back to 2017. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who will resume Sun Belt Conference play beginning Friday when they host South Alabama in a three-game series, dropped their fourth consecutive game – and second on a walk-off in the past three contests.
Louisiana trailed 5-3 heading into the ninth inning when Connor Kimple and Tyler Robertson led off the frame with singles. Jonathan Brandon then attempted a sacrifice bunt back to the mound and Nicholls’ reliever Cade Evans’ throw to third sailed past Kyle Boudreaux and allowing the Ragin’ Cajuns to cut the deficit to 5-4.
One batter later, Julian Brock tied the game when his fly ball to right nearly left the park but was caught on the warning track by Xane Washington, allowing Robertson to score for a 5-5 contest.
With Brandon at third with one out, Evans then fanned pinch-hitter Conor Higgs before eventually getting DeBarge to pop up to end the inning.
Nicholls put its first two runners on base on the ninth after Simon was hit by a pitch and Parker Coddou drew a walk off Louisiana reliever Jacob Schultz (1-2). After Schultz fanned leadoff hitter Garrett Felix for the first out, Washington’s grounder between third and short was booted and loading the bases.
Alvarez, who went 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the third, then hit a slow dribbler to short off Ragin’ Cajuns pitcher Austin Perrin allowed Simon to beat the throw from DeBarge.
The Colonels scored three times in the first inning off Louisiana starter Peyton Havard, getting a two-out, two-run single from Jaden Collura and an RBI single to right by Jayden Kay.
Louisiana cut into the lead as Roccaforte led off the second inning with his fourth home run of the season before DeBarge hit a first career homer – a solo shot to left – to get the Ragin’ Cajuns to within 4-2 in the sixth.
The Ragin’ Cajuns cut the deficit to 4-3 in the eighth when pinch-runner Max Marusak stole second and moved to third on a throwing error before scoring on Brock’s sacrifice fly to center.
Drew Shifflet pitched 4.2 innings in relief for Louisiana, scattering three hits and striking out three.
Louisiana will host defending SBC champion South Alabama in a three-game series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park beginning Friday at 6 p.m. The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. with Sunday’s finale set for 1.
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