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Cajuns Hammer Texas State 11-4 for 51st Win

Brad Kemp/ragincajuns.com

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns pounded out sixteen hits and came from behind twice to defeat the Texas State Bobcats 11-4 in the second round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in Mobile, AL Thursday afternoon.

The win gives the Cajuns (51-7) a day off Friday and sends them to the winners’ bracket final where they will face the winner of tomorrow’s elimination game between Texas State and UL Monroe.

Matt Hicks (7-1), the first of four Cajuns relievers, allowed just one hit and one walk in 3.1 innings of relief to set the tempo for the mound crew the rest of the game.  Riley Cooper, Martin Anderson and Chris Griffitt combined to pitch the final 3.1 innings, allowing just three hits.  The Cajuns staff walked two and struck out out 13 Bobcats on the afternoon.

Jace Conrad, Ryan Leonards, Caleb Adams and Blake Trahan each had three hits to pace the Cajuns, while Conrad, Adams and Greg Davis each drove in two runs.

Texas State (29-27) grabbed an early lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Austin O’Neal with two outs.  But Louisiana stormed right back in the bottom of the inning on an infield hit by Leonards, a one out single by Conrad, a double by Adams and a Davis groundout to take a 3-1 lead.

Garrett Mattlage then belted a three run homer off Cajuns’ starter Carson Baranik in the third inning to give the Bobcats a 4-3 advantage.  O’Neal then walked with one out and Cody Lovejoy followed with a double down the line in left to put runners at second and third.  But Hicks came in and struck out Tyler Pearson and Trey Hicks to avoid further damage.

That clutch performance put the momentum on the side of the Cajuns and they immediately came back to take the lead.  With two out, Conrad was hit by a pitch and moved to third on an errant pickoff move by Bobcats’ starter Lucas Humpal (4-6).  Caleb Adams singled to score Conrad and stole second, one of eight steals by the Cajuns in the game.  Davis followed with a base hit to score Adams and give the Cajuns the lead for good.

It was all Louisiana from that point.

The Cajuns got two more runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Conrad and Chase Compton to make the score 7-4, added two more in the sixth on two hits, two wild pitches and an error, and scored single runs in the seventh and eighth on an RBI single by Trahan, and a Butler single, followed by a stolen base and two base error.

Humpal, who allowed only one hit and two unearned runs in an earlier loss to the Cajuns, was tagged for ten hits and seven earned runs in 4.1 innings.

The Bobcats left two runners stranded off Hicks in the fifth inning, then got two on with one out against Cooper.  But  Anderson came in and struck out the next two hitters.  Griffitt allowed two base runners in his two innings of work.

The eight stolen bases in the game gives the Cajuns 101 steals on the year, matching the total of the 2010 team.

Mattlage, Cory Geisler and O’Neal each had two hits for Texas State, who stranded eleven base runners in the contest.

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