Cajuns’ 8th Inning Rally Sinks UALR, 7-6
Tony Robichaux has been saying it for years.....the team that gets the three run inning wins more often than not.
And it proved true again Saturday at Gary Hogan Field in Little Rock, as Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns struck for three runs in the eighth inning to defeat UALR 7-6, evening their best of three series at one game apiece.
Trailing 6-4 entering the top of the eighth, senior shortstop Jordan Bourque singled off Austin Pfeiffer, the third pitcher of the day for the Trojans. After Chris Sinclair struck out, Brian Bowman singled to put runners at first and second. With three left handed hitters coming up in the next four slots, UALR coach Scott Norwood turned to left hander Andrew Hohn (1-3), who promptly gave up run scoring singles to Jace Conrad and Dylan Butler, tying the score at 6-6. Chase Compton's infield single loaded the bases before Hohn got Tyler Girouard to hit into a force play at the plate for the second out. Right hander Bubba Cooper was summoned from the bullpen and walked Tyler Frederick on a 3-2 pitch to force in the deciding run.
Caleb Kellogg, who gave up a run in the seventh inning, retired the final six batters to end the game. Kellogg (3-3) struck out five in three innings of work.
It was only the second time the Cajuns were able to come back after trailing after seven innings, the first being back on Feb. 28th against Alcorn State. The Cajuns were 1-19 when trailing after seven prior to Saturday.
The Cajuns (20-22, 8-12 Sun Belt) started the scoring in the first inning off UALR starter Blake Huffman, with Girouard's two out single scoring Conrad to give the Cajuns a 1-0 lead. But the Trojans (21-21, 8-12) came right back with two off UL starter Chris Griffitt on an RBI singles by Sean Bignall and Myles Parma.
Huffman cruised until the fifth inning when Bourque led off with a double off the left center field wall. Chris Sinclair's bunt single put runners at the corners with none out. Brian Bowman's sacrifice fly tied the game at 2-2, but Huffman got Conrad and Butler on ground outs to avoid further damage. UALR untied the score in the bottom of the inning on back to back doubles by Ben Crumpton and Bignall with two outs to give the Trojans the lead, 3-2.
In the sixth, the Cajuns got two runs on RBI singles by Daniel Nichols and Bourque to put the Cajuns back out in front 4-3, but Griffitt walked Parma and hit Chris Burk with a pitch to end his day after 5.1 innings. Matt Hicks came in and walked Bryson Thionnet and gave up a two run single to pinch hitter Kaleb Jobe, who hit a grand slam home run on Friday night and UALR had the lead again, 5-4. They made it 6-4 in the seventh off Kellogg on two hit batsmen and Parma's RBI single, setting the stage for the Cajuns' eighth inning drama.
Bourque, who started the game at shortstop for the second time this week, had three hits to pace the Cajuns' fifteen hit attack. bowman, Conrad, Butler, Compton and Girouard had two hits apiece. For Girouard, it was the fourth straight start in which he had two hits. He is 8-16 during that stretch. Butler's two hits extended his hitting streak to seven games. Girouard, Bowman and Nichols have now hit in five straight games.
The fifteen hits ties the season high for the Cajuns, set up in Monroe against ULM on March 18th. The seven runs on the road was the most for the Cajuns in a road game since scoring 14 runs at McNeese State back on March 7th.
Bignall and Parma had two hits apiece for the Trojans, who had only five hits after the first inning.
The teams will face off in the rubber game of the series at 1pm tomorrow. Neither coach has named a starting pitcher for Sunday.