Cajuns Take Game One From FAU, 5-3
Austin Robichaux outdueled Florida Atlantic ace Austin Gomber and Matt Hicks tied one record and set another as Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns defeated FAU 5-3 in the first game of their three game Sun Belt Conference series at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field before a crowd of 2,369.
Robichaux (6-2) allowed just two earned runs in 7.1 innings to get the victory and Hicks became the UL career saves leader (13), while tying the single season record (9, Justin Robichaux) as the Cajuns moved to 9-7 in the Sun Belt and 26-12 overall.
The Cajuns never scored more than one run in an inning off Gomber (4-3), but had a total of 13 hits in the contest, which enabled them to score in five of their eight at bats on the night. Gomber struck out seven and didn't walk a batter, but gave up ten hits in seven innings of work.
The Cajuns got on the board in the bottom of the first inning when Dex Kjerstad led off with his sixth home run of the year off the scoreboard in left-center field to give Louisiana a 1-0 lead. The Cajuns padded their lead to 2-0 in the second on back to back singles by Michael Strentz and Caleb Adams, and a two out throwing error.
Tyler Rocklein got FAU on the board in the fourth with a solo home run off Robichaux, his sixth of the year, but the Cajuns came right back in the bottom of the fourth on a triple by Adams and a single by Blake Trahan to up the Cajuns lead to 3-1. Louisiana made it 4-1 in the fifth on a solo homer by Seth Harrison, his fourth.
FAU (25-13, 10-6), got to within a run in the sixth when Robert Buckley reached on a throwing error to lead off the inning. Nathan Pittman then singled Buckley to third and Buckley scored on a single by catcher Levi Meyer to make the score 4-2. Mark Nelson popped up, but Rocklein was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Robichaux then walked Brandon Sanger to force in a run and get the Owls to within one, 4-3. But the sophomore right hander got Ricky Santiago to pop up and Mike Spano to fly out to end the inning.
Robichaux got through the seventh unscathed, but left in the eighth after Nelson's one-out single. That brought on Hicks, who induced Rocklein to hit into a double play on a 2-2 pitch to get out of the inning.
Louisiana got an important insurance run off reliever Kevin Alexander in the bottom of the eighth on Adams' two out double, his third hit of the game. Trahan then delivered a base hit to make the score 5-3.
FAU threatened in the ninth as Sanger and Santiago led off the inning with singles. Spano bunted, but Hicks got the lead runner at third for the first out of the inning. Mitch Morales bounced a single through the right side to load the bases, but Hicks threw his second double play ball of the night as Buckey grounded to Trahan, who threw to second baseman Jace Conrad, and the relay throw to first was in plenty of time to end the game.
The Cajuns' two home runs in the game marked the tenth time Louisiana has had multiple home runs in a game. The Cajuns now have 36 home runs on the season, twice as many as they had a year ago.
The Cajuns will go for the series win tomorrow at 6:05 at "The Tigue." Lefty Ryan Wilson gets the start for the Cajuns, while right hander Jeremy Strawn will pitch for the Owls. The game will be heard on News/Talk 96.5 KPEL-FM with pre-game beginning at 5:50 pm.