Ole Miss Ends Cajuns’ Dream Season, 10-4
The best season in Ragin’ Cajuns baseball history came to an end Monday night as Ole Miss earned a berth in the College World Series by beating Louisiana 10-4 in the third and deciding game of the Lafayette Super Regional.
During their 58-10 season, the Cajuns made a living on taking free base runners and turning them into runs.
Monday night, the shoe was on the other foot.
Nine Cajuns’ pitchers combined for eight walks and three hit batsmen, and five of those free base runners came in to score, helping the Rebels (46-19) to their first appearance in the College World Series in more than 40 years. Ole Miss lost the first game of the series, but came back to win two in a row, handing the Cajuns back to back losses for the only time all season.
Ole Miss took a 6-4 lead into the ninth and put the game away with four runs in the final frame to give the Rebels plenty of breathing room.
Louisiana took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a Tyler Girouard sacrifice fly, but the Rebels used the long ball to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth. Austin Anderson’s two run homer following a double by Auston Bousfield gave the Rebels a 2-1 lead and two batters later, Sikes Orvis hit his 14th homer off Cajuns’ starter Cody Boutte (9-1) to make the score 3-1.
Louisiana fought back in their half of the inning against Ole Miss starter Sam Smith. Chase Compton was hit by a pitch to open the inning and one out later, Dylan Butler’s double put runners at second and third. Mike Strentz’ ground out got Compton home and Ryan Leonards followed with a double, one of his three hits in the game, to tie the score.
Ole Miss took the lead for good in the fifth, scoring a run without a hit. Boutte hit Braxton Lee with a pitch to open the inning. Matt Hicks came on and retired Bousfield on a fly ball, but walked Anderson. Hicks got the second out with a fly ball, but reliever Chris Griffitt hit Orvis with a pitch to load the bases. A passed ball allowed Lee to score and give Ole Miss the 4-3 lead..
The Rebels made it 5-3 when Matt Plitt issued a two out walk and Bousfield doubled home Lee. Reliever Scott Weathersby (3-1) pitched two innings into the sixth. Josh Laxer came into the game with runners at first and second and two out and got Jace Conrad to fly out to end the inning.
The Cajuns’ best chance came in the seventh when Laxer threw away Tyler Girouard’s grounder with one out. A walk to Caleb Adams put the tying run on base. After Compton lined out to center, Harrison doubled inside the third base bag. Girouard scored, but Adams was thrown out on a close play at the plate, keeping Ole Miss in front, 5-4.
The Rebels scored again without a hit in the eighth on a pair of walks, a fielders choice and Lee’s sacrifice fly and then put the game away in the ninth on a bases clearing double by pinch hitter Holt Perdzock and a sacrifice fly.
Laxer gave up two hits and the one unearned run in 3.1 innings for his sixth save of the season.
Bousfield and Anderson had two hits each for Ole Miss, while Leonards and Harrison had three hits each for the Cajuns, who won 101 games in the last two seasons.
Ole Miss will meet #3 national seed Virginia in their first game in Omaha Sunday night at 7pm.