A-State Holds Off Cajuns 7-6
Arkansas State jumped out to a 7-0 lead and then held off a Cajuns' late rally, as the Red Wolves defeated Louisiana 7-6 in the first game of their three game series at Tomlinson Stadium in Jonesboro Friday night.
A-State (13-12, 4-6 Sun Belt got to Cajuns' starter Gunner Leger (3-2) for five runs in the first four innings, with a three run homer by Matt Burgess highlighting a four run third inning. The Red Wolves added two more runs off reliever Chris Charpentier in the fifth on an RBI triple by Joe Schrimpf and a safety squeeze bunt from Frankie Alvarez to go up 7-0 after five innings.
Louisiana (16-10, 6-4) started their comeback in the sixth inning as Joe Robbins led off with a walk. Kyle Clement then singled and Stefan Trosclair followed with an RBI single to get the Cajuns on the board. Steven Sensley then singled to load the bases and after Brad Antchak forced Clement at home, Nick Thurman hit a grounder under the glove of third baseman Tanner Ring as Trosclair scored. Kennon Fontenot then singled home a run and Brian Mills base hit drove in two more as the Cajuns cut the lead to 7-5.
The Cajuns added another run in the seventh on a single by Clement, a groundout and an RBI single by Sensley, who went to second on the throw home. Antchak's grounder moved Sensley to third but after Thurman walked, Fontenot was caught looking at a third strike to end the threat.
The Cajuns nearly had some ninth inning drama as Trosclair sent left fielder Tony Ortiz to the wall for a leaping catch to lead off the inning. Antchak had a two out single in the ninth, but Ring, who went to the mound from third base in the eighth, held the Cajuns scoreless in the final two innings to record his third save of the season.
"Tuesday night we made a late push and that was relevant because we had held them (Nicholls) down and never gave up a big inning," Cajuns' coach Tony Robichaux said. "But tonight we gave up seven runs and that made our big inning irrelevant."
Tyler Zuber (3-2) worked the first 5.1 innings, giving up seven hits and five runs, four earned. Cody Jackson gave up a run on three hits in his two innings of work before Ring came on.
Leger was charged with five runs on five hits. He walked three, hit a pair of batters and struck out two. Charpentier also plunked two hitters against the Red Wolves, who lead the nation in times hit by pitch.
The Cajuns lost for the first time when outhitting their opponent, tallying eleven hits to nine for the Red Wolves. Clement, who started his first game since suffering a fracture in his forearm on March 1st, had three hits, as did Sensley. Trosclair added a pair of hits for the Cajuns.Jeremy Brown and Schrimpf each had two hits for the Red Wolves.
The two teams will meet in game two Saturday afternoon at 4pm. Wyatt Marks (2-2) will try to even the series for the Cajuns while right-hander Adam Grantham (1-2) will take the mound for Arkansas State.