UL Ragin’ Cajuns Defeat Tulane In Extra Innings
The University of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns battled Tulane in the second of a three game series out in New Orleans on Saturday, February 20, 2021. A much more offensive game than Friday's matchup, the Cajuns once again found themselves in extra innings but were able to score enough runs and hold off Tulane by a score of 9-8.
Conor Angel got his first start of the year for the Cajuns. Here is how the rest of the starting lineup looked from @RaginCajunsBSB on Twitter.
With the Ragin' Cajuns first to bat Senior outfielder, Brennan Breaux, was able to help his team get on the board first with a shot to center field. @RaginCajunsBSB on Twitter had the updates all day long.
Tulane didn't waste any time getting around the diamond either, as they found a pair in the bottom of the 1st inning. After one, it was a 2-1 Tulane ball game.
The action would slow until the 3rd inning, although the Cajuns were able to rack up 5 hits in only two at-bats. The 3rd is where UL would make their first pitching change of the day, opting to give Chipper Menard his first chance to shine wearing black and vermillion.
The Ragin' Cajuns were back for more runs, as they added more in the 4th inning including a big RBI hit from Carson Roccaforte.
While Menard looked like he had pretty good stuff for his first collegiate showing, the Cajuns opted for a pitching change in the 5th inning. Menard didn't appear to be in any severe pain, so hopefully this is more precautionary than anything as he will definitely be a strong arm out of the bullpen this year for the Cajuns. They went with another freshman next in David Christie.
Tulane rallied up in the bottom half of the 5th inning, adding four runs to make it a 7-5 game with the Green Wave ahead. UL decided to put in Jacob Schultz to try to limit the damage.
The score would remain that way until the top of the 7th inning when the Cajuns got another run thanks to, what would have been, a CJ Willis triple. Unfortunately, Willis overran 3rd base just a few feet and got stuck away from safety. He was tagged out on a last-ditch effort to reach home plate and that ended the inning.
UL, wearing black tops with grey pants on the sunny Saturday afternoon, struggled to get base runners as they sent Austin Perrin in to continue the battle.
Dane Dixon came in to throw and helped round out the bottom of the 8th inning with no more runs allowed to the Tulane offense. This sent the Cajuns to bat for their last chance to make a move on the Green Wave.
Connor Kimple stayed hot with the bat and led off the top of the 9th inning with a single to the outfield, which is exactly what the Cajuns needed to spark their comeback. Kimple stole second to get himself in scoring position with no outs and Carson Roccaforte at the plate. He worked into a full count but was struck out swinging, which gave redshirt Junior Jonathan Brandon a chance to contribute.
Brandon also battled in his at-bat, even walking down the third base line to visit with Coach Matt Deggs after some pitches to make sure everyone was on the same page. With a (2-2) count, Kimple took off on an attempt to steal third base. The throw down from home plate went far over the third baseman's head and Kimple stomped on home plate - allegedly.
The Tulane team must have seen something they didn't like, as the catcher touched home plate after the play as if Kimple had missed home plate. A video review ensued, as the umpires went to the Cajuns dugout to take a closer look at the play for what was a third time this series.
But video evidence was not enough to overturn this call, as the umpires returned to the field to call Kimple safe. It was a tie ball game at 7-7 in the top of the 9th inning with. Brandon would eventually be out and once again, the Cajuns would look to veteran Brennan Breaux to provide some offensive support. Breaux was able to reach base on a walk and was the go-ahead run for UL with Kevin Fitzgerald up next.
The lefty stepped up to the plate with hopes of moving his teammate around, but got a little help as Breaux stole second a few pitches into the count. Now, with a runner in scoring position, Fitzgerald got into full count but dribbled a grounder to the second baseman. It was a tough play, but Tulane was able to put out the Cajuns with the game at 7-up.
Down to the bottom of the ninth inning, Tulane was looking to walk-off for the second evening in a row at their home stadium in New Orleans. They started off their at-bat with a gift from Dixon, as he plunked the Green Wave hitter in a (2-2) count. Dixon dug back in and struck out the next three batters - the Ragin' Cajuns were once again heading into extra innings.
With a lead-off double in the corner for C.J. Willis, a sacrifice bunt from Sam Riola turned into a double when the Green Wave committed an error that sent Willis all the way home. UL was now ahead 8-7.
Brett Borgogno, the Junior from California, came in to pinch hit for Hagedorn with a runner on second base and no outs in the top of the 10th inning. A pitching change for Tulane would not be very helpful, as Borgogna was trying to bunt Riola over but watched four balls go by instead to reach first base. Two runners were on with no outs as the lead-off hitter, Tyler Robertson, stepped up to the plate.
A past ball moved the runners to second and third, as Robertson looked to get his first hit on the day. But nothing broke, as he hit a grounder to the third baseman for Tulane to record their first out of the inning.
Connor Kimple, who has had the most impressive performance so far in the series for UL, was up next and looked to capitalize on the runners in scoring position. He watched the Green Wave pitcher throw more balls and eventually got walked. Bases loaded for the Cajuns and the opportunity to put Tulane away at hand.
Carson Roccaforte was up again and looking to add more RBI's to his day. A first-pitch sacrifice fly to right field gave him just that, as the Cajuns went up 9-7. The shot almost flew over the outfielder's head which would have really added to the UL lead. Jonathon Brandon was up to bat for Lafayette.
With two outs and two men on, Brandon worked himself into full count and eventually looked at ball four to load the bases once again. The other stand-out performer so far for the Cajuns', Brennan Breaux, was up to the plate. He sent a hard-hit ball straight at the center-fielder which ended the long top-half of the 10th inning.
Tulane started their at-bat with a solo homer to left-field, making it a 9-8 score with UL narrowly leading. The Cajuns needed three outs to escape another heartbreak scenario like they had the previous night. Dane Dixon was looking to provide those outs. He walked the next batter to send a man to first base.
A dangerous shot down the right-field line almost made a Tulane Freshman the hero of the game, but he ended sacrificing himself and moving the runner over to second base with a ground ball up the middle. One out for UL, as the Cajuns would once again go to their bullpen with Brandon Talley coming in to pitch.
Talley was able to strike out the next Tulane batter, leaving only one out to go until the Ragin' Cajuns had their first win of the season.
The UL pitcher battled once more to strike out the final Tulane batter, making the Ragin' Cajuns victorious in 10 innings by a score of 9-8.
The Ragin' Cajuns recorded 11 hits with no errors, and Tulane had 7 hits with two errors. Both teams records move to (1-1) as the rubber match is set for Sunday at 1PM.