Cajuns Open Russo With 3-1 Win Over Southern Miss
The concourse was clean and functional. The bathrooms were spacious. The concessions were operational.
There was beer.
All of the seats in the brand new grandstand were in place. The sound system worked. John Fogerty sang at the seventh inning stretch. Getting in an out with just one entrance was a little inconvenient, but things overall went smoothly.
And, oh yes, the Cajuns won.
That made the 5,250 in attendance the happiest of all.
Gunner Leger threw six innings of four hit ball, and relievers Wyatt Marks and Dylan Moore kept Southern Miss at bay as Louisiana defeated the Golden Eagles 3-1 at the grand opening of M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park Friday night.
Leger (2-1) gave up a run in the second inning on a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly, but the Cajuns (5-3) struck right back in the bottom of the inning. Steven Sensley led off the second with a home run over the center field fence to tie the game. Then, with one out, Handsome Monica singled and Kennon Fontenot delivered a two out triple to right center for all the runs the Cajuns would need.
The Eagles (7-2) managed one last threat off the lefty in the sixth inning when Sensley dropped Dylan Burdeaux's fly ball for a two base error. Mason Irby sacrificed Burdeaux to third and Hunter Slater was hit by a pitch. Taylor Braley then grounded to third base and Joe Robbins threw out Burdeaux on a close play at the plate. Leger hit Daniel Keating to load the bases, but Leger got Matt Wallner to ground to Alex Pinero at first to end the threat.
"Gunner did a great job of moving his pitches in and out. He didn't have his changeup but he reversed pitched and was able to hold them off."
Southern Miss starter Hayden Roberts (0-1) kept it a one run game until the seventh when Pinero led off with a single and was sacrificed by Monica. Robbins reached on an error and the two runners moved up on a wild pitch. Kennon Fontenot was walked intentionally. Reliever Stevie Powers struck out pinch hitter Tremaine Spears but then hit Brenn Conrad with a pitch to force in the tying run.
Marks relieved Leger at the start of the seventh and retired the first five men he faced before a single and a walk put the tying runs on. But Marks struck out Keating for his fourth strikeout in two innings to get out of the jam.
Moore allowed a walk and a single to the first two hitters in the ninth, but got the next three batters on called third strikes to notch his third save of the season.
Both staffs were stingy. Southern Miss, who entered the game hitting .318 as a team, managed just six hits. The Cajuns, who had 41 hits in their previous four games, had only five. The Cajuns' pitching staff struck out 15, while Southern Miss pitchers fanned nine.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm. Nick Lee (2-0, 0.69) gets the start for the Cajuns while lefty Kirk McCardy (2-0, 1.46) gets the start for Southern Miss. The game will be heard on NewsTalk 96.5 KPEL-FM beginning at 1:30.