Cajuns Claim Sun Belt Tourney Title Behind Trosclair Grand Slam
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajun baseball team is heading back to the NCAA Regionals after capturing a dramatic Sun Belt tournament championship over South Alabama on Sunday afternoon in Troy, Alabama by the score of 5-1 in 12 innings.
Ragin' Cajun freshmen pitcher Gunner Leger, who started on Wednesday in UL's first game of the tourney, threw 8 complete innings, allowing only 1 earned run, fanning 4 Jaguar batters.
"I knew the team needed me," said Leger. "I was just trying to go out there and throw strikes.
South Alabama threw their ace Kevin Hill on short rest, as he allowed 1 earned run over 6 complete innings.
With Greg Milhorn coming in to throw for Louisiana in the 9th, and South Alabama riding Ben Taylor from the 6th inning on, the contest went to extra innings.
"There's really only one way to beat them (South Alabama)," explained Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux. "They've got such great pitching, and you have to answer them with pitching and defense."
Pitching and defense led the Cajuns into an extra innings battle, and junior second baseman Stefan Trosclair, the league's home run leader, seized a moment that rarely comes along.
With the bases loaded in the top of the 12th, Trosclair got to take the plate with the bases loaded. For a kid with as much swagger as confidence, Trosclair jacked a grand slam over the right-field wall, giving the Cajuns a 5-1 lead that stood for the win.
"I was just going to step up to the plate and get a good hit on the ball," said Trosclair. "It was a fastball and we had to lay off the high stuff...so I was trying to get a pitch I could get some leverage on and get a good swing on."
Trosclair was named Most Outstanding Player of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. He was also named to the All-Tournament team, along with three other Cajuns in Leger, Dylan Moore, and Kyle Clement.
"We fought a very gritty team," said Louisiana head coach Tony Robichaux. "I think we're the two best teams in the conference this year and it played out that way."
With the victory, Louisiana advances to the NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive season. They'll learn their seed, destination, and first opponent tomorrow morning as the tournament selection show will be broadcast on ESPNU beginning at 11 am.