Jags’ Walkoff Single in Ninth Edges Cajuns 3-2
A two out error. A two out walk.
Two critical plays that cost the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns a win Friday night at Eddie Stanky Field in Mobile, AL.
Travis Swaggerty's two out single scored pinch runner Dylan Hardy with the game winner as South Alabama moved one step closer to the regular season Sun Belt title with a 3-2 win over the Cajuns.
Ben Gann drew a two out walk off Louisiana reliever Eric Carter (3-2) and Hardy, who was 10-10 in stolen bases on the season, replaced Gann, stole second and went to third on Nick Thurman's throwing error. Swaggerty then lined a 3-2 pitch to right field to end it and give the Jaguars (37-14, 20-5 Sun Belt) a four game lead with five games left.
"We didn't make a critical play at a critical time early," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "If we do, Gunner (Leger) wins this game, 2-0."
Leger was spectacular over seven innings, allowing just five hits and two unearned runs. He walked two and struck out seven in a 117 pitch performance.
"I thought we competed at the plate against a really good arm," Robichaux said of USA starter Kevin Hill. Gunner matched him pitch for pitch. This should have been a 2-0 game."
Hill threw 113 pitches in eight innings, giving up eight hits and two earned runs. He walked two and struck out seven. Mike Doloff (3-4) allowed a two out single to Hunter Kasuls in the ninth, the third hit of the game for the Cajuns' freshman. He stole second, but Brian Mills flied out to right to end the inning, setting up the bottom of the ninth.
The Cajuns (31-19, 16-9) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a single by Kasuls, a sacrifice and a two out single by Stefan Trosclair. The Jags countered with a two out single in the bottom of the inning by Drew LaBounty. Brandon Donovan was hit by a pitch to put two on with two out. Matt Bolger then lifted a foul ball behind first base that Trosclair misplayed for an error. Bolger made the most of his second opportunity with a double to left to tie the game. Jared Barnes then grounded to second, but first base umpire Craig Mirr ruled Barnes safe on Trosclair's throw allowing the second run to score.
Leger then retired twelve straight batters before Swaggerty singled with two out in the fifth, stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Cole Billingsley walked and stole second and LaBounty hit a sinking liner to center field, but Kyle Clement made a diving catch for the third out, saving two runs.
Hill had retired seven straight Cajuns, five on strikeouts before Louisiana tied the game in the sixth. Trosclair singled and moved to second when Brenn Conrad was hit by a pitch. Alex Pinero bunted the runners over and Joe Robbins singled to right, scoring Trosclair, but Conrad was thrown out at the plate for the second out. Thurman's groundout ended the inning at 2-2, where it stayed until the ninth.
The Cajuns will try to even the series Saturday night, sending freshman Nick Lee (6-1) to the mound where he will be opposed by Randy Bell (5-1). Airtime on 96.5 KPEL-FM will be at 6:00 with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30.