Butler’s Blast Buries Red Wolves as Cajuns Roll 9-2
We’re all glad Dylan Butler isn’t a good bunter.
In the bottom of the eighth inning of a 2-2 tie with runners on first and third, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns head coach Tony Robichaux would normally elect to bunt the runner home, with either a safety or suicide squeeze.
But Robichaux eschewed the bunt to give Butler a chance to swing, and the freshman belted a three run homer to springboard a seven run eighth inning and give the Cajuns a 9-2 win over Arkansas State Friday night before 2,284 at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Senior Centerfielder Brian Bowman started the rally with a 12-pitch at bat which resulted in a walk from ASU starter Jacob Lee (3-1). Lee threw two wild pitches to send Bowman to third and Tyler Girouard also walked on a 3-2 pitch to set the stage for Butler, who hammered a hanging pitch on a 2-2 count to give the Cajuns a 5-2 lead.
Louisiana would go on to add four more runs in the inning off reliever Brandon Farley as Chase Compton greeted the left-hander with a triple to right center. Tyler Frederick followed with a double over the head of center-fielder Michael Faulkner to make it 6-2. Daniel Nichols walked and the runners moved up to second and third on a sacrifice by Jace Conrad. Farley uncorked a wild pitch to score Frederick and Ryan Leonards then tripled up the gap in left-center to score Nichols to make it 8-2. Leonards scored on an error for the final run.
The rally broke up a 2-2 tie, forged by the Cajuns in the seventh on a double by Conrad, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly by Leonards.
Arkansas State (11-10, 3-1 Sun Belt) took the early lead on a two run homer by first baseman Zach George off Cajuns’ starter Jordan Nicholson. The blast scored Faulkner, who had singled. But Nicholson would not allow another run through the sixth inning.
Meanwhile, after allowing three hits in the first inning, Lee settled down and shut out the Cajuns until the fifth, when Nichols led off with a double and scored on Conrad’s single to cut the ASU lead in half.
Nicholson, meanwhile, continued to put up zeros until the seventh, when Ryan Roberts singled and Dustin Jones was hit by a pitch on a disputed call. That ended the night for the right hander and brought in lefty Jordan Harrison (2-0), who got out of the jam when Faulkner missed a bunt on a third strike and Zach Maggio hit into a double play.
Harrison would wind up retiring all eight men he faced, striking out four.
Eight of the nine starters had a hit for the Cajuns (13-8, 3-1), with Butler and Conrad leading the way with two hits each. The Cajuns had ten hits in the game, with five coming in their last two at bats. The Red Wolves wound up with six hits, only four after the first inning.
The two teams will play again Saturday at 2:05 at the “Tigue.” Lefty Chris Griffitt will get the start for Louisiana, while right hander Daniel Wright will pitch for ASU. The game can be heard on 96.5 KPEL.