Louisiana Comes Back to Beat Little Rock in Series Finale 7-4
Louisiana's offense erupted for 14 hits in their series finale against the Little Rock Trojans, and they scored five runs over the final four innings to win 7-4.
The win breaks the Cajuns Sun Belt Conference losing streak. The team is now 22-17 and 8-7 in conference play.
After suffering a tough extra-innings loss last night, head coach Matt Deggs was proud of his team for taking game three on the road.
"I thought we showed a lot of toughness and resiliency," Deggs said. "We played a complete game today."
Little Rock took the first lead of the contest with a small two-out rally in the second inning. A double and single gave them a 1-0 lead early on against Cajuns starter Carter Robinson.
Louisiana answered with three straight singles to start the fourth inning. Connor Kimple's single tied the game, and a sacrifice fly by Brennan Breaux allowed the Cajuns to take a 2-1 lead.
Robinson got the first two outs in the bottom half of the fourth inning, but a walk and three straight hits plated three runs and Little Rock recaptured the lead 4-2.
The bottom part of the Trojans lineup continued to give Louisiana issues early on. Through the first four innings, the top five batters in Little Rock's order were a combined 1-10 while the last four batters were 5-7 with a walk and four runs scored.
In the sixth inning, a leadoff double by Tyler Robertson was followed by a RBI-triple by Kimple. It was Kimple's second RBI of the day, but with no outs and the tying run on third base, the Cajuns failed to get him home.
Louisiana cut the Trojans lead to 4-3 with Kimple's hit, and the bullpen did a great job of pitching through stressful situations to keep them in it. The Cajuns pitching staff stranded two base runners in each of the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, holding them scoreless, and the offense responded.
Louisiana's offense stormed back with three straight doubles to open up the seventh inning. Carson Roccaforte started things off, and Drake Osborn brought him home to tie the game at 4-4. Ben Fitzgerald hit his 13th double of the year to score Osborn and give the Cajuns a 5-4 lead.
After Cajuns relief pitcher Brandon Talley stranded two Trojans in the eighth to send the game into the final frame of regulation, Roccaforte hit another leadoff double. Osborn brought him in with a single for a big insurance run to make it 6-4, but he was caught stealing. Fitzgerald came through again with a huge solo home run to give the Cajuns a three-run advantage in the ninth.
That was all Talley needed, and he recorded the last three outs of the game to earn his fifth save of the year. The Cajuns bullpen held the Trojans scoreless in the final five innings, and the offense took advantage in the comeback win.
Deggs said the team operates well when their offense gets hot like it did in game three.
"We've got to be able to score," Deggs said. "When we score, we win. If we score five, we win because we pitch it that well. I've got a good feeling about us. We've had our ups and our downs. When it really gets fun is when you're playing for something."
Coach Deggs also believes the best of this Cajuns baseball team is coming.
"This is a tough place to play," Deggs said. "They had won 11 straight here before today. We should have walked away with a series win, but there's no use looking back on it. I've got a feeling our best baseball is ahead of us."
Up next, the Cajuns return home for the first of eight consecutive games in Lafayette. They start their home stretch with a midweek non-conference matchup against UL-Monroe on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Louisiana swept the Warhawks in a three-game weekend series on the road earlier this year, and this is the last scheduled game between the two teams.