LAFAYETTE – Carson Roccaforte went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs for the second consecutive night while seven pitchers combined to fan 15 batters to lead the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team to a 6-3 win over in-state rival Northwestern State on Wednesday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Peyton Havard (1-1) pitched three innings and struck out five batters to earn his first career win for Louisiana (5-4), which swept the home-and-home series from Northwestern State (3-5). Jacob Schultz earned his second save in as many days for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who combined to fan 30 NSU batters in the two-game set including 14 looking.
After a wild 11-8 win by Louisiana on Tuesday in Natchitoches, the Ragin’ Cajuns broke open a scoreless contest in the third inning plating four runs off NSU starter Donovan Ohnoutka (1-1). CJ Willis opened the inning with a single through the left side and stole second after Ohnoutka fanned Julian Brock.
One batter later, Bobby Lada reached on a throwing error that bounced in front of NSU first baseman Gray Rowlett and allowing Willis to score from second. After Will Veillon was hit by a pitch and Kyle DeBarge drew a walk to load the bases, Roccaforte singled up the middle to increase Louisiana’s lead to 3-0 before Connor Kimple would follow with a sacrifice fly to score DeBarge.
Northwestern State cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth, loading the bases off Louisiana reliever Cooper Rawls. Rowlett was hit by a pitch to allow Miguel Vega to score before Bo Willis continued his torrid series against the Ragin’ Cajuns with a two-run single to left.
The Ragin’ Cajuns would answer with a run in the bottom half of the fifth as Roccaforte walked, advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt and scored on Tyler Robertson’s single up the middle.
Louisiana added an insurance run in the eighth as Veillon reached base on a wild pitch after a strikeout, stole second and third before scoring on Roccaforte’s sacrifice fly to right.
Roccaforte, who went 5-for-7 with three runs scored and six RBI in the two-game series, denied a home run from NSU’s Cam Sibley to lead off the ninth with a leaping grab over the right-field wall. Schultz then fanned Larson Fontenot before getting Duante Stuart to ground out to seal the win.
Hayden Durke, David Christie, Chipper Menard and Jake Hammond each pitched a scoreless inning for Louisiana with Menard getting out of an early jam in the seventh inning to fan three batters, including Willis – who belted a pair of home runs and drove in seven on Tuesday – to protect a 5-3 lead.
Robertson went 2-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases for Louisiana, which recorded five steals in the game and a combined 13 in the two-game series. Ohnoutka scattered four hits and allowed four runs – two unearned – in three innings for Northwestern State while Gus Collins and Andrew Cossio each fanned three batters in a combined three innings of work.
Louisiana will remain at home for a three-game series beginning on Friday against future Sun Belt Conference rival Southern Miss. First pitch for Friday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. with Saturday’s game slated for 2 p.m. and Sunday’s finale at 1.
All three games can be heard in the Lafayette area on KPEL 96.5 FM with the final two games of the series available on ESPN+.
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