Middle Tennessee Completes Sweep of Cajuns
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns were hoping they could find the offensive magic against Middle Tennessee on Sunday to salvage the third and final game of their Sun Belt series.
Instead, they ran into Zac Curtis. The junior college transfer had only one bad inning in 7.2 innings pitched and for the third straight day, the Cajuns bullpen let the game get away as Middle Tennessee defeated the Cajuns 9-3 to sweep the three game series at Reese Smith, Jr. Field in Murfreesboro.
Michael Adkins was again the catalyst for the Blue Raiders, driving in three runs with a tiebreaking homer in the sixth and a two run double in the seventh to give him eight RBI in the series.
The Raiders (15-10, 3-3 Sun Belt) hit the double digit mark in hits for the third straight game and their two homers gave them eight in the series, matching the number they had for the entire season entering the weekend.
The Raiders started the scoring in the second off Cajuns starter Cody Boutte (4-1) on an error, a run scoring double by Robert Lawrence and an RBI triple by Trey Ellison. But Boutte closed the door on the Raiders over the next three innings, at one time retiring nine hitters in a row.
That gave the Cajuns an opportunity to come back in the game against Curtis (4-2). With two out, Michael Strentz was hit by a pitch, Tyler Girouard singled to extend his hitting streak to eight games and Caleb Adams unloaded a three run homer to left, to give the Cajuns a 3-2 lead.
But the lead didn’t last long.
With one out, Trent Miller homered to tie the game and Adkins untied it with another homer to left field to give the Blue Raiders a 4-3 lead. They increased the lead off reliever Nick Zaunbrecher, who left after walking the leadoff man in the seventh and hitting the next. Ben Carter came in out of the bullpen and gave up a two run double to Adkins to increase the lead to 6-3.
Middle Tennessee added a run in the eighth on Ellison’s second triple of the game and came home on Dain McNabb’s double off reliever Matt Plitt to make it 7-3. The game was stopped for one hour and twenty minutes because of weather after the next batter, Ryan Ford, was hit by a pitch. Miller’s two run single concluded the scoring after the rain delay.
Louisiana wasted opportunities in the game in the fourth inning when Leonards and Strentz were hit by pitches to start the inning, but Curtis struck out Girouard, got Adams on a fly to center and induced Chase Compton to ground out to second.
The Cajuns had another chance in the top of the eighth on Dex Kjerstad’s second hit of the game, followed by a double by Leonards. But Curtis got Strentz to ground out and struck out Girouard before giving way to Paul Mittura, who got Adams to fly out to center. Joey McClung pitched the ninth for MTSU.
After giving up a leadoff single to Kjerstad, Carter retired nine in a row before the two hit batsmen in the fourth. Carter then retired the next eight before the Cajuns rallied to take the lead.
The Cajuns’ seven game road trip continues Tuesday night at Southeastern Louisiana. Gametime at Pat Kennely Diamond/Alumni Field in Hammond is scheduled for 6pm.