Cajuns Score Early, Win Series Against Jags, 6-3
Tony Robichaux says at this time of the year, bouncing back from a loss is more important than winning.
After losing the first game against league leader South Alabama, the Cajuns bounced back in a big way, taking the final two games, including a 6-3 Sunday win at Eddie Stanky Field in Mobile.
"Being able to bounce back from a loss means you can get deep in the postseason," Robichaux said. And we not only did it this weekend, we did it against a very good club."
The win for the Cajuns (33-19, 18-9 Sun Belt) kept the Cajuns in the conference race as they moved within two games of the lead with the final weekend coming up.
"As long as you have a chance to finish first, finishing second should be unacceptable," Robichaux said. "Our guys responded and we still have the opportunity to win a championship."
The Cajuns took advantage of wildness from South Alabama starter Austin Bembnowski (6-2) to score all the runs they would need in the first inning. Hunter Kasuls was hit by a pitch and, with one out, Kyle Clement walked. Stefan Trosclair was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Brenn Conrad delivered a two run single to get the Cajuns on the board. Joe Robbins walked to re-load the bases and Kennon Fontenot walked to make the score 3-0 and end Bembnowski's day. Nick Thurman greeted reliever Avery Geyer with a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-0.
Louisiana added a run in the second inning on a two out single by Kyle Clement, a stolen base and Stefan Trosclair's double to increase the lead to 5-0.
Evan Guillory, making his first conference start this season, gave up a two out single in the first inning and then retired ten in a row. But Guillory ran into some trouble in the fifth when Brennan Donovan and Jared Barnes had back to back singles and Danny Martinez walked. Ben Gann delivered a single to score Donovan and, after Guillory struck out Adam Wolfe, Robichaux turned to freshman Hogan Harris (2-0), who struck out Travis Swaggerty and got Cole Billingsley to ground out, stranding three base runners.
"Evan got us off to a great start, but with two lefties coming up, we thought Hogan would be a good matchup and he came in and stood tall," Robichaux said. "That's the luxury of having a deep bullpen."
Harris pitched effectively until the eighth inning when Billingsley led off with a single and Drew LaBounty walked. Reliever Jevin Huval got Perkins on a fly ball, but walked Donovan to load the bases. Billingsley scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2, but the Cajuns traded a run for an out on a grounder to Joe Robbins and Martinez flied out to keep the score at 5-3.
The Cajuns added an insurance run in the ninth when Alex Pinero singled and was sacrificed to second. Pinch hitter Steven Sensley then doubled inside the bag to score pinch hitter Jam Williams for the final Cajuns' run.
Eric Carter, who suffered a tough luck loss on Friday night, then came in and struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth for his third save."
"Eric really did a great job. He had a great weekend, being named one of the University's Outstanding Graduates and then coming in today and dominating his opponent."
South Alabama (37-16, 20-7) has now dropped seven of its last eleven conference games and lost their second consecutive conference home series. The frustration showed as Jags' coach Mark Calvi was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the bottom of the sixth.
The Cajuns travel to UNO to take on the Privateers Tuesday before closing out the regular season Thursday-Saturday against UL Monroe at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field. South Alabama will travel to Troy to close out their regular season.