LAFAYETTE – Kyle DeBarge's RBi grounder broke a 3-3 deadlock in the bottom of the seventh inning and Will Veillon beat out an infield single to drive in two runs as Louisiana scored three times in the inning and earned a 6-3 win over South Alabama in the final game of three-game Sun Belt Conference series Sunday afternoon at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park.
Carson Roccaforte belted his fourth home run in four games while Jeff Wilson and three relievers combined on an eight-hitter as Louisiana (11-12, 2-4 Sun Belt) earned its first SBC series win of the season. Veillon, Tyler Robertson and Bobby Lada had two hits each as the Ragin' Cajuns outhit South Alabama (16-6, 4-2 Sun Belt), 9-8.
Louisiana trailed 2-0 in the first inning when Erick Orbeta led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Miles Simington's home run to right. Wilson, who went 5.2 innings on the mound, would scatter four hits the rest of the way in keeping the Jaguars off the board.
South Alabama's early lead would be short-lived after Robertson reached on a one-out double to left and scored when Roccaforte smashed his seventh home run of the season – and third in two days – off South Alabama starter JoJo Booker.
Veillon would give Louisiana a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning when he hit a one-out single to left, stole second and scored on Connor Kimple's two-out single up the middle. Louisiana, which stranded seven runners in the game, threatened to blow the game open with two outs in the sixth after Veillon was hit by a pitch, Heath Hood singled and Kimple was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Booker, who scattered six hits and allowed three runs in 6.0 innings, then got Julian Brock to fly out to right to end the threat.
South Alabama, which left runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, broke through to tie the game at 3-3 in the seventh. Orbeta would reach on a two-out walk before Will Turner was hit by a pitch from Louisiana's Dylan Theut.
Simington then poked an opposite-field double inside the third base line, driving in Orbeta and tying the game at 3-3.
Louisiana would quickly break the tie as Lada led off the bottom half of the inning with a single off Jaguar reliever Eric Lin (1-2) before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Max Marusak. Robertson would follow with a sharp single to left field, putting runners on the corners before DeBarge hit a chopper to short and allowing Lada to score the go-ahead run.
After Roccaforte was intentionally walked with two outs and Lin was called for a balk, putting runners on second and third, Veillon hit a liner up the middle that was fielded by Orbeta at second. Orbeta's potential inning-ending throw to first was late as Robertson and Roccaforte each scored to give Louisiana a three-run lead.
Theut (1-2) earned his first Division I victory for the Ragin' Cajuns after allowing one hit and striking out two in 1.1 innings of work. Jake Hammond struck out one in 0.2 innings for Louisiana before Chipper Menard pitched the final 1.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts to earn his second career save.
Hunter Stokes went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles for South Alabama with Simington and Orbeta getting two hits each. Lin allowed three runs and scattered three hits in 1.0 innings for the Jaguars while Austin Mills pitched a scoreless inning with a strikeout.
Louisiana will go on the road for a pair of midweek games beginning Tuesday at Southeastern Louisiana (8-16) in Hammond. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. from Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field. The Ragin' Cajuns will then travel to face New Orleans (13-9) in a 6:30 p.m. game on Wednesday at Maestri Field before returning home to host Georgia Southern in a three-game SBC series.
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