Cajuns’ Bullpen Falters, App State Rallies to Top Cajuns
Appalachian State scored single runs in each of the final three innings to defeat the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns 6-5 in the first game of their three game series at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park.
Luke Drumheller, the Sun Belt Conference's leading hitter, blooped a single to right off Cajuns' reliever Michael Leaumont (0-3) to lead off the ninth. Rick Smith then bunted for a hit. After Dalton Williams flied out to left, Kendall McGowen singled to load the bases. Bailey Welch then hit a ground ball for a force play, but beat the throw to first with a headfirst slide as Drumheller came home with what proved to be the winning run.
Andrew Papp worked around a one out walk to hold the Cajuns scoreless in the bottom of the inning for his third save.
The Mountaineers (9-11, 2-2 Sun Belt) got a first inning run on an infield hit, a walk, a wild pitch and an RBI groundout. But the Cajuns (10-13, 2-2) came back in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly by Todd Lott and an RBI single by Orynn Veillon. Lott's mammoth homer down the left field line, his first of the year, extended the lead to 3-1 in the third, and Hayden Cantrelle's sixth homer of the year make it 4-1 after five. Cantrelle extended his hitting streak to eleven games with the blast to right field.
Cajun starter Jacob Schultz breezed through the first five innings, retiring fourteen in a row on ten ground balls and four strikeouts. But number nine hitter Luke Allison led off the sixth with a bunt single. Alex Leshock then hit a ground ball to Hunter Kasuls who threw to Cantrelle for the first out. But Allison's hard slide into second forced an errant throw on the double play attempt, which proved to be costly. Drumheller's ground ball to first moved Leshock to second and Riley SMith walked. Williams and McGowen followed with run scoring singles to make the score 4-3 before Brandon Young came on to get the last out.
"If we turn the double play right there, he (Schultz) probably finishes them," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "But they extended him to the 85 pitch mark and we had to make the change."
The Cajuns got one of the runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Orynn Veillon worked a leadoff walk from reliever Jason Cornatzer. Kaleb Bowman (2-0) came on and after an Alex Hannie sacrifice, Kole McKinnon looped a single to right and Veillon scored on an errant throw in right field, making the score 5-3.
Young walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh and after a sacrifice, Allison laced a triple into the gap in right center field to make the score 5-4. After Leshock was hit by a pitch, Leaumont came into strike out Drumheller and Smith to get out of the inning without further damage.
In the eighth, a one out walk followed by singles by Bailey Welch and Phillip Cole tied the game, setting the stage for the ninth.
The two teams will play game two of the series Saturday at 2:00 pm. Pregame on 96.5 KPEL-FM begins at 1:30 pm.