Frederick’s Squeeze Lifts Cajuns over Troy in Eleven
Everyone in the stands knew the squeeze was coming.
Everyone in the press box knew the squeeze was coming.
Troy coach Bobby Pierce knew the squeeze was coming.
And, everyone was right.
Tyler Frederick’s one out suicide squeeze bunt scored pinch runner Ryan Leonards from third base in the bottom of the eleventh inning, lifting Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns to a 9-8 win over Troy Friday night at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Chase Compton led off the eleventh with a double down the left field line off losing pitcher Thomas Austin (2-3). Leonards replaced Compton and Tyler Girouard bunted the runner to third. Jordan Bourque was walked intentionally to set up a possible double play. Pierce ordered a pitchout on the first pitch to Frederick and Austin nearly threw a wild pitch. With the count 1-0, Leonards broke from third and Frederick laid down a perfect bunt to score the winning run.
It really shouldn’t have come down to that, however, as the Cajuns (21-23, 9-13 Sun Belt) blew a five run lead in the ninth inning, with Boone Shear’s two out, two strike single up the middle off Cajuns’ relief ace Caleb Kellogg driving in the two runs that tied the game.
“Kellogg struggled tonight, but he’s my guy and he’s gonna be my guy,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said after the game. We just let it get away from us. But I was proud of Matt for coming in and shutting them down.”
But Matt Hicks (3-0) got the final out in the ninth and held Troy (20-26, 8-14) to just one hit in extra innings.
The Cajuns jumped out early in the game off Troy starter Tyler Ray, scoring in the first inning on a two out single by Compton, who paced the Cajuns with three hits in the game. The Cajuns made it 2-0 in the second on a two out double by Daniel Nichols, followed by a Chris Sinclair single, and strung together three hits with two out in the third to increase the lead to 4-0. Compton tripled, scored on a double by Girouard, and Girouard scored on a single by Frederick.
“I was really proud of our hitters tonight. We really competed throughout the game and put ourselves in a position to win,” Robichaux said.
But after Cajuns’ starter Jordan Nicholson breezed through the first five innings, the Trojans cut the lead to one run in the sixth when Danny Collins hit his ninth homer of the year, a three-run shot off the scoreboard in left center to make it 4-3.
The Cajuns came right back in their half of the sixth, however. Sinclair hit a one out homer to right for his third round tripper of the season to make it 5-3. After Brian Bowman walked and Jace Conrad singled, the two executed a double steal and Bowman scored on a passed ball to give the Cajuns a 6-3 lead, and Conrad scored on Dylan Butler’s groundout and the Cajuns had the four run lead back at 7-3.
Louisiana increased its lead in the eighth on a single by Bourque, who eventually came around and scored on an error to increase the lead to 8-3.
Reliever Cord Cockrell retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth, but served up back to back home runs to Collins and Tyler Hannah to cut the lead to 8-5. Kellogg came in, but issued a walk to Chase Mathis. Pinch hitter Al Golden hit into a force play for the first out, but Jo-El Bennett and leadoff hitter Jakob Nixon walked to load the bases. Tyler Vaughn’s sacrifice fly scored the third run of the inning. With runners at second and third and a 2-0 count to left handed hitting Logan Pierce, Cajuns head coach Tony Robichaux ordered an intentional walk to re-load the bases. Shear followed with a sharp single up the middle which tied the game, setting the stage for the eleventh inning.
The win was the first for the Cajuns on a Friday night since March 23rd when they defeated Arkansas State 9-2 at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field. The nine runs by the Cajuns marked the first time they had scored that many runs since that March 23rd performance.
The Cajuns had eleven hits, marking the seventh time in nine outings they’ve tallied double digit hits. The Cajuns are 5-4 in the last nine games.
Army Sgt. John Coker, who starred in center field for the Cajuns from 2004-05, threw out the ceremonial first pitch as the Cajuns faithful gave the popular Coker a long standing ovation. Coker was seriously injured in Afghanistan back in September. He survived being shot in both legs and the pelvis and has undergone several surgeries since being transported back to the United States and continues his rehabilitation.
The Cajuns will go for the series win Saturday night at 6pm. Cajuns left hander Chris Griffitt will be opposed by right hander Joe Hernandez.