Cajuns Roar Back To Reach Championship Game for Fourth Straight Year
Down 6-0 after the first inning?
No problem. They got this.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns won their ninth straight game and advanced to the championship game of the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament by beating Arkansas State 17-10 at Bobcat Ballpark in San Marcos, TX.
Louisiana (40-19) will now meet Georgia Southern (36-23) Sunday at 1 pm with an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament at stake.
The usually reliable Evan Guillory failed to retire a batter in the first inning before Will Bacon came in and got the Cajuns off the field. Guillory was charged with the first five runs of the six run inning.
"Evan didn't have it today," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "But our bullpen stayed away from the big inning until we could get it to (Eric) Carter and our offense was great today."
The Cajuns began their comeback in the third on an RBI single by Brenn Conrad, a two out bases loaded double by Nick Thurman and an RBI single by Alex Pinero to get within a run.
Arkansas State (29-29) picked up a run in the third,, but the Cajuns took the lead for good inn the fourth, highlighted by a critical two out error and a two run single by Thurman. The Cajuns put the game out of reach in the fifth on a two run triple by Stefan Trosclair, a Conrad sacrifice fly and a solo homer by Steven Sensley to jump out to a 13-7 lead.
The Red Wolves were able to cut the lead to 13-10 before the Cajuns turned to Eric Carter, who got the win in Wednesday's game. Carter recorded his fourth save by giving up just one run in four innings. He walked one and struck out five, giving him 14 strikeouts in 7.2 innings in the tournament.
Pinero drove in three runs in the final three innings as the Cajuns scored four more unanswered runs.
Jevin Huval (3-1) was the winning pitcher, allowing three hits and two runs in 2.1 innings. Coulton Lee (5-8) was touched for two hits and four runs, only one earned, in one inning of work, taking the loss.
Kyle Clement, Thurman and Pinero each had three hits for the Cajuns, while Thurman and Pinero combined to drive in nine runs.
"If you're going to score a lot of runs, the bottom of your order has to flip the lineup. Those two did a great job today in getting us back to the top of the order and we had some big innings as a result."
Ty While and Jeremy Brown each had three hits in the game, while White, Garrett Rucker, Matt Burgess and Tony Ortiz each drove in three runs for the Red Wolves.
Robichaux has tabbed Wyatt Marks (4-6, 4.70) as the starter for the title game. Evan Challenger (7-4, 3.02) who pitched seven strong innings in Wednesday's opener against Little Rock, will get the start for the Eagles.
Sunday's championship game will be the fourth in a row for the Cajuns, which ties a league modern era record. They'll be looking for a record third straight title. Louisiana now has won 40 or more games for four straight seasons.
Airtime for the championship game is 12:30pm on 96.5 KPEL-FM.