Cajuns Squeeze by Warhawks in Ten Innings, 5-3
After losing to Southern Mississippi a week ago in eleven innings, Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux was second-guessing his decision not to try to squeeze home the winning run.
Faced with a similar decision, Robichaux bunted not once, not twice, but three times in the tenth inning and the Ragin' Cajuns turned small ball into two runs as Louisiana defeated Louisiana-Monroe 5-3 in ten innings.
Tyler Girouard led off the tenth by drawing a walk off losing pitcher Wil Browning (3-1). Dylan Butler drew a walk after falling behind on the count 1-2 to put two on with none out. Chase Compton then sacrificed the runners to second and third. With a count of 1-1, Tyler Frederick laid down the squeeze bunt to score Girouard on a close play at the plate and give the Cajuns the lead at 4-3. And, after the Warhawks pitched out, Robichaux called for the squeeze again, and Daniel Nichols delivered to score Butler with the second run of the inning.
Caleb Kellogg (2-2) then set the Warhawks down in order in the bottom of the tenth to secure the win for the Cajuns (12-7, 2-0 Sun Belt.)
It almost never came to that as the Warhawks (12-8, 0-2) squandered an opportunity to win it in the bottom of the ninth. Jeremy Sy led off the ninth with a double, his fourth hit of the series. ULM coach Jeff Schexnaider eschewed the bunt and Caleb Clowers flied to left. After Joey Rapp was intentionally walked, Kellogg got Corbin Green to fly to short left and Judd Edwards to pop to first to end the threat.
Louisiana got to starter Andrew Richardson in the second inning. Compton led off with a double and later scored on Ryan Leonards' two out single to stake the Cajuns to an early 1-0 lead. Louisiana got to Richardson for another run in the third on a triple by Brian Bowman and a sacrifice fly by Dylan Butler to make it 2-0. Butler has now driven at least one run in nine of his last ten games and leads the Cajuns in RBI with 23. Chase Compton's second double of the game ended Richardson's day and Kendall Thamm entered and ended the threat.
Trailing 2-0, ULM got to Cajuns' starter Chris Griffitt in the fourth when Rapp led off with his fifth homer of the season to draw the Warhawks within 2-1, and Clowers' RBI single an inning later tied the game at two. The Cajuns re-took the lead on a two out double by Tyler Frederick in the sixth, followed by an RBI single by Nichols to make it 3-2.
The lead didn't last, however, as Taylor Abdalla hit a two out homer in the sixth to tie the game at 3 apiece.
The win clinches the series for the Cajuns, the first time they've accomplished that in the opening Sun Belt series since sweeping South Alabama to start league play in 2007. That year, the Cajuns won the Sun Belt championship and advance to a regional final.
The Cajuns will go for the sweep Sunday at 1pm at Warhawk Field. Joe Zimmerman (0-0, 4.70), who has missed his last two starts because of a groin injury, will get the start for the Cajuns. ULM will counter with righthander Cale Wine (3-1, 2.77.) The broadcast will be heard on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns radio network (ESPN1420, 96.5 KPEL and 1240KANE beginning at 12:30.