Compton’s Slam Powers Cajuns Over ULM
In the middle of the season, Louisiana first baseman Chase Compton lost his starting job after a prolonged slump. But the junior continued to work hard and support his teammates.
Friday night, as Coach Tony Robichaux would say, baseball paid him back.
Compton hammered a 3-2 pitch with two out in the eighth inning for a grand slam home run, breaking a 4-4 tie and Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns went on to rout Louisiana-Monroe, 13-4 at Warhawk Field.
ULM ace Cale Wine (6-8) had allowed only two earned runs through the first seven innings. But after striking out the first two batters in the eighth, Wine walked Michael Strentz, Jace Conrad and Dex Kjerstad in succession, bringing up Compton, who had grounded out as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
With the count at 2-1, Wine had to leave the game because of a cramp. Reliever Corey Taylor came in and Compton worked the count to 3-2, fouled off one offering, then launched the game winner.
The Cajuns (37-17, 18-11 Sun Belt) added five more runs in the ninth, two on a mammoth home run by Kjerstad, to end the scoring.
Ben Frith (2-0) who entered the game in the bottom of the seventh, got the win.
The Warhawks (18-35, 7-22) got on the board first off Cajuns' starter Cody Boutte without benefit of a hit. Boutte hit Judd Edwards with a pitch and walked Taylor Abdalla. An error loaded the bases. The Cajuns made two errors in the inning and Edwards and Abdalla both came in to score to give ULM a 2-0 lead.
The Cajuns got on the board in the fourth when Seth Harrison had a bunt single and Tyler Girouard singled him to second. Caleb Adams reached on an error to load the bases, but the Cajuns had to settle for one run on Dylan Butler's sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1. But ULM came back in the bottom of the inning on Judd Edwards' two run homer to make the score 4-1 after four innings.
After that, it was all Cajuns.
Jace Conrad's solo homer cut the lead to 4-2 in the fifth and the Cajuns tied it in the sixth when Adams and Blake Trahan singled, With one out, Michael Strentz singled to score Adams and Conrad's ground ball tied the game, setting the stage for Compton's heroics.
The win allowed the Cajuns to keep pace with Florida Atlantic in a tie for third place in the league, as FAU defeated FIU 3-0 in Miami. The Cajuns will be seeded either second or third with a win tomorrow, and will be seeded third or fourth with a loss, depending on the outcomes of FAU/FIU and South Alabama/Troy.
Kjerstad and Strentz each had three of the Cajuns' 17 hits in the game. Conrad knocked in three runs, a season high. Butler, Strentz and Kjerstad each drove in two runs.
The Cajuns and Warhawks will close the regular season tomorrow at 6pm.