Southeastern Spoils Deggs’ Debut, 3-2
On a night when former head coach Tony Robichaux was honored and his jersey number 36 was retired, everything was set up for a grand celebration.
His sons Austin and Justin threw out the first pitch. Well over 100 former players were on hand and came onto the field before the game. A flag bearing the number 36 flew just below the American flag. Emotions ran high.
But Southeastern Louisiana refused to cooperate.
Brandon Hale's three run homer in the sixth inning proved to be all the runs the Lions would need as SLU defeated Louisiana 3-2, spoiling Matt Deggs' debut as head coach before an opening night crowd of 5,472 at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park Friday night.
Held off the scoreboard by Cajuns' starter Connor Angel (0-1), the Lions drew a two out walk which finished the Quebec native's night. Reliver Jeff Wilson walked Preston Faulkner intentionally before Hale's blast inside the foul pole in left.
Meanwhile, Lions' starter Trey Shaffer (1-0) gave the Cajuns just a pair of hits over 5/1 innings of work striking out ten and walking three. The Cajuns finally got on the board in the sixth when Connor Kimple singled and, after Ben Fitzgerald lined out, Hayden Cantrelle walked. Nick Hagedorn then sliced a ball down the left field line to score Kimple, but the ball caromed into the box seats, which sent Cantrelle only to third base. A pop out and a strikeout ended the threat.
The Cajuns got a run closer off reliever Will Warren in the seventh when Brennan Breaux singled and went to second on an error by Hale in right field. Sebastian Toro moved Breaux to third with a sacrifice and pinch hitter Justin Greene drove in the run with a grounder to first. But the Cajuns got only one more base runner when Jonathan Windham singled to start the ninth. Warren then struck out the next three batters.
"I think, sometimes, you want something so badly that you press," Deggs said of his hitters who struck out 16 times and managed only five hits. "I thought our pitchers did a great job. But it is what it is. We'll come back out tomorrow."
Angel worked 5.2 innings, allowing two hits and a run. He walked three and struck out seven. Angel started shakily, walking the first two hitters and allowing an infield single. But the righty struck out Faulkner looking and got Hale to hit into a double play to end the threat.
"Wilson's been lights out for us all fall and spring. They just ran into a fastball and hit it out," Deggs said.
Jacob Schultz pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit with three strikeouts.
The Cajuns will battle with Louisiana Tech Saturday at 2:00 pm.