Cajuns Respond, Dominate Aztecs, 9-2
If the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball coaching staff was concerned about the team’s mindset after their unexpected loss to Jackson State, their question was answered in the locker room Saturday morning.
The team was watching the DVD of the Boston Red Sox comeback after being down three games to none in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Boston proceeded to win eight straight and became World Series Champions.
The #1 seed Ragin’ Cajuns scored five times in the first two innings and pounded out fifteen hits, eliminating #3 seed San Diego State 9-2 before 3,591 at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Louisiana (54-8) jumped on starter Bubba Derby (8-4) in the first inning when Ryan Leonards and Jace Conrad opened with singles. Conrad was thrown out on a pitch that was down onto the turf and Blake Trahan popped up. But Tyler Girouard singled home Leonards to get the Cajuns on the board.
The Cajuns chased Derby in the second inning. With one out Chase Compton singled and Seth Harrison walked. After Kyle Clement struck out for the second out, catcher MIchael Strentz blasted a 3-2 pitch over the left field wall to make the score 4-0. Walks to Leonards and Conrad were followed by a single by Trahan to give the Cajuns a 5-0 lead.
That’s all Cajuns’ starter Carson Baranik (11-1) would need, as he allowed just two runs on six hits over 6.1 innings for the victory. Matt Plitt threw 2.2 innings of shutout ball to finish off the Aztecs (42-21), the Mountain West Tournament Champions.
The Cajuns had one error in the contest, but made several sparkling plays in the field, including three by Ryan Leonards and one by shortstop Blake Trahan to back the effort of Baranik and Plitt.
Harrison broke out of an 0-18 slump with three hits in four trips, with two runs scored and two RBI. The two RBI gave him 60 for the season as he became the first Cajun to reach that number since Jonathan Lucroy (68) in 2–7. Trahan had three hits, a run and an RBI, while Strentz and Leonards chipped in two hits apiece. Strentz and Caleb Adams each reached the 40 rbi mark, giving the Cajuns six players with at least that many runs driven in.
Louisiana will now play the loser of Jackson State/Mississippi State tomorrow at 1pm. The game will be heard on 96.5 KPEL-FM with airtime at 12:35.