Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns had to face one of the league's best pitchers Friday night in Louisiana-Monroe's Randy Zeigler.

But in the Sun Belt opener for both teams at Warhawk Field in Monroe, Jordan Nicholson outdueled Zeigler, throwing a four hit shutout as the Cajuns started their 21st season of Sun Belt play with a 5-0 win over the Warhawks.

Nicholson threw 116 pitches in his complete game masterpiece and faced just three batters over the minimum in notching his third win of the year against one loss.

The Cajuns (11-7, 1-0 Sun Belt) got Nicholson the only run he would need in the second inning when Jace Conrad singled with two out.  After Jordan Bourque walked, catcher Chris Sinclair, who started his career at ULM, delivered a run scoring single to left field to put Louisiana ahead 1-0.

Freshman Dylan Butler extended his hitting streak to nine games when he hit his fifth homer of the season leading off the sixth inning to give the Cajuns a 2-0 lead and Louisiana put the game away by scoring three unearned runs off Zeigler and reliever Shelby Aulds in the eighth.  A two out error by shortstop Jeremy Sy was followed by a walk to Tyler Frederick.  That ended Zeigler's night and Daniel Nichols greeted Aulds with a single, scoring Chase Compton.  Second baseman Caleb Clowers then booted Jace Conrad's grounder, allowing two more runs to score.

Nicholson, meanwhile, retired the first ten batters he faced before Sy singled with one out in the fourth.  Designated hitter Corbin Green followed with another single, but the Ruston right-hander got Joey Rapp on a fly ball to right and struck out Brandon Alexander to end the inning.  Judd Edwards led off the fifth with a hit, but was thrown out trying to steal by Sinclair, who gunned down his ninth would-be-stealer of the season.  Sy's two out single in the sixth was the final baserunner against Nicholson, who retired the last ten batters he faced.

Zeigler fell to 2-3 with the loss, despite bringing an ERA under two into the game for the Warhawks (12-7, 0-1).

The two teams will meet in game two of the series Saturday at 6pm.  Lefty Chris Griffitt (3-1, 3.45 ERA) gets the start for the Cajuns, while ULM will counter with right hander Andrew Stevenson (0-1, 4.76.)  The game will be heard on 96.5 KPEL-FM with pregame beginning at 5:30.

For a final box score of tonight's game, click here.