Cajuns Outlast Texas State, 8-6, for 38th Win
In a series billed as the battle of the pitching staffs, it was key hitting that took center stage at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field Friday night.
Texas State and Louisiana combined for 14 runs and 22 hits Friday night and it was the Cajuns getting the clutch hits as they defeated the Bobcats 8-6 before a crowd of 3,846.
Ryan Leonards broke out of a one for twenty slump by getting two extra base hits, including the game winner as the Cajuns improved to 38-4 on the season, 17-2 in Sun Belt play.
Texas State (23-19, 11-8) scored in five of their nine at bats, but the Cajuns’ pitching staff stayed with the mantra of not giving up a three run inning as they forced the Bobcats to strand nine baserunners.
Greg Milhorn (4-2) got the win despite giving up the tying homer run in the seventh inning. Ryan Wilson got the final six outs for his second save of the season.
Ross Goebel (2-1) failed to retire either of the two hitters he faced and was tagged with the loss.
Texas State out hit the Cajuns 12-10. It was only the sixth time all season that the Cajuns have tallied fewer hits than their opponent. They are 3-3 in those games.
The Bobcats got on the board in the second inning when Granger Studdard led off with a single off Cajuns’ starter Austin Robichaux. Robichaux picked Studdard off, but home plate umpire Bruce Ravan called a balk, advancing Studdard to second. Ben McElroy’s fly ball moved the runner to third, and Tanner Hill’s ground ball knocked in the run to give Texas State a 1-0 lead.
The Cajuns got the run right back in the bottom of the inning when Bobcats’ starter Austen Williams walked Caleb Adams to lead off the frame. Adams advanced on a ground ball by Tyler Girouard and scored on Seth Harrison’s single.
Texas State staged a two out rally in the third when Colby Targun doubled and came home on Cameron Freiss’ single. Garrett Mattlage followed with a single and Studdard walked to load the bases. But Robichaux came back to get McElroy on a fly ball to end the inning.
Tyler Pearson’s fifth homer of the year came with one out in the fourth and gave the Bobcats a two run lead. But Louisiana came back with a Seth Harrison two run homer to tie the game at three apiece. It was the ninth homer of the year for Harrison, tying him with Caleb Adams for the team lead, and was the 50th homer of the year for the Cajuns, which leads the nation.
The Cajuns took the lead for the first time in the fifth inning when Dylan Butler drew a leadoff walk. Then with one out, Blake Trahan doubled down the right field line, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, plating Butler. Leonards then followed with a double of his own and later scored on a wild pitch to give the Cajuns a three run inning and a 6-3 win.
But Texas State got a run off reliever Matt Plitt in the sixth on a walk, a single by Hill and a single by Tanner Hicks. Milhorn came on to strike out the final two batters of the inning, two of the 13 strikeouts recorded by the Cajuns’ pitching staff.
But Freiss led off the seventh with a single and two batters later, Studdard hit his team-leading sixth homer of the season to tie the score. All six of the freshman’s home runs have come in league play.
Goebel came on in the bottom of the seventh and got in trouble when Trahan hit a blooper to right that was muffed by second baseman Matt Smith. Leonards then tripled for what proved to be the winning run and scored two batters later when Adams ripped a single to left. Wilson gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, but struck out Studdard and pinch hitter Cody Lovejoy. Hill then grounded out to end the game.
Adams had three hits to lead the Cajuns’ ten hit attack, the 30th time this season the Cajuns have reached double digits in hits. Harrison’s three RBI moved him into the league lead with 47.
The win, coupled with Arkansas State’s 5-1 loss to Georgia State, gives the Cajuns a four game lead over the Red Wolves.
Louisiana and Texas State will play their second game of the series tomorrow night at 6:05pm. Carson Baranik (8-0) will get the start, while Taylor Black (2-3) is scheduled to get the start for Ty Harrington’s Bobcats.