Clement, Carter Lead Cajuns over Red Wolves, 7-4
Kyle Clement hit a three run homer in the eighth inning and Eric Carter turned in a dominating relief effort as the top seed Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns defeated the #8 seed Arkansas State Red Wolves, 7-4 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament at Bobcat Ballpark in San Marcos, TX.
The win vaulted the Cajuns into the winnner's bracket, where they will take on Texas State, an 11-6 winner over #4 Troy, tomorrow night at 7:30. It was the seventh straight win for the Cajuns (38-19.)
"We just kept grinding," Cajuns' head coach Tony Robichaux said. "We had plenty of chances to break the game open but couldn't get the big hit. Finally Clem got the big hit and Carter just dominated his opponent."
Clement's homer, his third of the season and second against the Red Wolves, came after losing pitcher Coulton Lee walked Alex Pinero to start the eighth. Tyler Zuber came on in relief and gave up a bunt single to Brad Antchak. Joe Robbins struck out but Clement launched a Zuber fastball over the right field wall for the game winner.
Carter (5-2) entered the game in the sixth inning with a runner on third and one out after Cajuns' reliever Jevin Huval was touched by a home run by catcher Daltan Lovell and a triple by Tony Ortiz. The senior right hander struck out Ty White and Joe Schrimpf to end the threat. He recorded two more strikeouts in the seventh, two in the eighth and struck out the side in the ninth.
Gunner Leger started for the Cajuns and pitched five innings, giving up four hits and three runs, one earned. He walked two and struck out ten.
"Gunner just kept battling," Robichaux said. He went deep into a lot of counts but made a lot of big pitches."
The Red Wolves (26-27) took an early 1-0 lead when White led off with a single on a 3-2 pitch and was called for a balk, sending White to second. He went to third on a grounder and scored on a wild pitch.
The Cajuns go the run back when Hunter Kasuls led off with a single off Arkansas State starter Cody Jackson and went to third when the ball got past center fielder Garrett Rucker and scored on Joe Robbins' grounder. Louisiana increased the lead to 4-1 in the third on a walk to Pinero, a pair of bunt singles, a bases loaded walk by Clement, a sacrifice fly by Stefan Trosclair and a grounder by Brenn Conrad.
Two hits, a passed ball and an error led to a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning for the Red Wolves , bring them within 4-3, before tying the game on Lovell's homer.
9 am: #2 South Alabama vs. #3 Little Rock
12:30 pm: #8 Arkansas State vs. #4 Troy
4:00 pm: #6 Georgia Southern vs. #7 UT Arlington
7:30 pm: #1 Louisiana vs. #5 Texas State