Instant Classic: Cajuns Drop Jags in 11, 5-4
Cajuns and Jags.
Back and Forth.
Ups and Downs.
In the end, Kyle Clement's leadoff home run in the eleventh was the game winner as the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns beat the South Alabama Jaguars 5-4 before 2,027 at Eddie Stanky Field in Mobile Saturday night.
Clement's blast off reliever Hunter Soleymani (4-3) came on a 2-0 pitch and just cleared the wall in right center field to even the weekend series at one game apiece. Dylan Moore (6-1) gave up a two out triple and walk in the bottom of the inning, but got Ben Gann on a ground ball to end it.
"We really battled tonight, and so did they," Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux said. "We knew they weren't going away and we weren't going away either. It's what you expect from the two best teams in the league."
The Cajuns (32-19, 17-9 Sun Belt) took a 2-0 lead into the seventh inning behind freshman right hander Nick Lee, but Jared Barnes doubled with one out and scored on Gann's double. Moore came in and surrendered a two run homer to pinch hitter Adam Wolfe which gave the Jaguars (37-15, 20-6) a 3-2 lead.
"Nick was outstanding tonight," Robichaux said. He kept them off balance all night. He just got a couple of pitches up in the zone and they hit them. But we needed him to pitch big and he did." Lee gave up five hits and two runs in 6.1 innings. He walked one and struck out six, throwing 92 pitches.
Louisiana tied the game in the eighth inning against on a one out double by Kennon Fontenot, who advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a wild pitch by Jags' starter Randy Bell. Moore then retired six straight over the final two innings to send the game to the tenth.
Bell worked the first 7.2 innings for the Jaguars, allowing five hits and just one earned run, with one walk and six strikeouts. He left after throwing 105 pitches.
Louisiana took the lead in the first extra frame when Alex Pinero singled against USA closer Shane McKinley and was sacrificed to second by Nick Thurman. Pinch runner Ishmael Edwards scored on Fontenot's single. But Travis Swaggerty, who had the game winning hit Friday night, homered to right off Moore with one out in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at four.
"We felt, sooner or later, D-Mo would get it done," Robichaux said, smiling. "We figured he wouldn't blow three saves in one night." Moore pitched a career high 4.2 innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out five. The runs off Moore were the first given up by the sophomore right hander since March 20th against Little Rock, a span of 13 appearances.
Clement's homer was his second of the season and his first since April 3rd against Arkansas State.
Just as the Cajuns gave up a pair of unearned runs in the first inning on Friday, so did the Jaguars on this night. Clement singled with two out in the first and Stefan Trosclair reached when Drew LaBounty misplayed his ground ball to shortstop. Brenn Conrad then delivered a two run double inside the first base bag to give the Cajuns a 2-0 lead, which stood until the seventh.
The rubber game of the three game series will be played Sunday at 1pm. Austin Bemnowski will get the start for South Alabama, while Evan Guillory will get the nod for the Cajuns. The game can be heard on 96.5 KPEL-FM beginning at 12:30.