Ragin’ Cajuns Defeated By Tulane In Season Opener With Walk-Off In Extra Innings
The University of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team began their season in New Orleans as they faced off against Tulane on Friday, February 19, 2021 to get the three game series and year goin. Unfortunately for the Cajuns', they lost to the Green Wave in the bottom of the 10th inning thanks to a walk-off two-run single.
Take a look at the starting lineup for the Cajuns' today via @RaginCajunsBSB on Twitter below.
Freshman right-hander, Hayden Durke, got the nod for the Cajuns' to begin the year, making him the first Freshman to ever get an opening day start in UL program history.
He did not disappoint in his debut wearing vermillion and grey, as he went five total innings giving up only one hit and no runs. Check out the post of congratulations from @RaginCajunsBSB below.
Brandon Talley came into relieve Durke and came out looking stellar. Check out the Tweet from @RaginCajunsBSB below.
This game was a pitching duel to start out, although the Cajuns' had a couple of opportunities to score runs with the bases loaded and two outs in the 3rd and 5th innings.
It was not until the 7th inning when each team scored their first runs of the season. The Cajuns' got on the scoreboard for the first time this year thanks to a solo-homer from Conor Kimple. @RaginCajunsBSB of course showed their left-fielder some love on Twitter.
Tulane was able to score thanks to a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 7th which tied the ballgame up at 1-1. With no blood drawn by either team in the 8th, it all came down to the 9th inning to see which team could break ahead to get themselves a season-opening victory.
The Cajuns couldn't get anything going in the top-half of the last inning, leaving the door wide open for a Tulane walk-off. But Connor Cooke came out throwing the ball well, as he struck out the first Tulane better in the bottom of the 9th. With his fastball and breaking ball working quite nicely, he was able to strike out the second batter as well. Cooke finished off the bottom of the 9th with a big breaking-ball strike out to retire the side. The Cajuns' season opener was going to extra innings.
To the top of the 10th, the Cajuns' were hoping to find a spark as the sun began to set in New Orleans. That spark came from none other than Conor Kimple, who was responsible for the Cajuns' only run of the game so far, as he sent a grounder through the shifted left-side of the infield. With one out and Kimple on first, Tulane went back to the bullpen as UL hoped to find a run out of this 10th inning opportunity.
With a new arm in for Tulane, a pick-off move to begin the at-bat went wayward and Kimple was able to advance to second base. The setting sun proved to be a factor in this error by the Green Wave, as the first baseman never really had an eye on the throw from the mound.
The Cajuns' now had a runner in scoring position and smelt blood in the water. With Ben Fitzgerald up to bat, he sent a dribbling ground ball down the first base line that was mishandled by the Tulane pitcher. A close call that went to review, which was the third video reviewed play of the game, put runners on first and third for the Ragin' Cajuns with only one out in the top of the 10th.
Deadlocked at 1-1, UL had their opportunity to put runs on the board in extra innings. Tulane opted for another pitching change with Jonathan Brandon up to bat for the Cajuns. The first pitch to Brandon hit him, which loaded up the bases as UL was really chomping at the bit to wrap this ball game up.
Cajuns' veteran and first baseman, Brennan Breaux, came to the plate with one out and the bases juiced in the top of the 10th inning. Breaux worked into a (3-1) hitters count, but went to a full count after fouling one down the left field line. His experience showed as he took ball four to force in a run, putting the Cajuns' ahead 2-1.
Catcher, Drake Osborn, grounded into a double play to end the top-half of the 10th at a 2-1 score with the Ragin' Cajuns ahead. Now, it was up to Connor Cooke to finish this game for UL.
He started out the bottom of the 10th a bit shaky, as he sent ball four over Osborn's head to give Tulane their first base runner. Onto the second batter of the inning, Cooke threw a breaking ball into the turf that got away from Osborn. Tulane's baserunner advanced to second with no outs in the inning.
Cooke followed this up by walking the next Green Wave hitter, making it runners on first and second with no outs for the home team. This would end Cooke's day, who started out throwing really well but struggling with walking batters.
UL opted to bring in the Junior, Jeff Wilson, to try to wrap up the win for the Ragin' Cajuns. The first batter he faced for Tulane layed down a really nice bunt, but Osborn was able to jump on it and fire down to third to secure a close first out of the inning. The next Tulane batter flew out to center field, which held runners at first and second with only one out to go for a Cajuns' victory.
Wilson got behind during the 2-out at-bat and ended up loading the bases for Tulane with a walk. With two outs and the bases loaded for the Green Wave in the bottom of the 10th inning, this was the climax of this intense start to the Ragin' Cajuns season.
Unfortunately, the climactic end to this game would not go UL's way as a shot between short-stop and third base went into left field and scored two runes to secure the walk-off victory for Tulane.
The Cajuns' finished the game with seven hits and only one error, while Tulane put together four hits with two errors. The final score was 3-2, with the Tulane Green Wave defeating the University of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in the season opener.
The Cajuns' fall to 0-1 on the season and will play Tulane again tomorrow in New Orleans at 2PM.
You can take a look at the un-official Ragin' Cajuns baseball fan guide for this 2021 season by clicking HERE.