Cajuns Sweep South Alabama, Win Sun Belt Title
Austin Robichaux allowed only two hits through seven innings for his seventh win of the year as Louisiana won the Sun Belt Conference regular season title with a 5-2 win over South Alabama in the first game of a doublheader at Eddie Stanky Field in Mobile.
In the nightcap, Greg Davis drove in five runs, including the game winner with two out in the ninth inning to complete the sweep as the Cajuns squandered a 7-0 lead but came back to beat the Jaguars 8-7.
It was the fifth regular season title for the Cajuns, who also won the league in 1997, 2005, 2007 and 2010.
Robichaux (7-2) struggled only in the second inning, allowing two unearned runs after walking the first two hitters in the inning. Those were the only free passes given up by the junior right hander. He allowed just one hit in his final five innings of work, a two out single in the seventh to Garret DeGallier. Robichaux struck out eight in his 94 pitch performance.
Ryan Wilson pitched the final two innings and recorded his sixth save of the season.
Trailing 2-1 after two innings the Cajuns took the lead for good in the third off Locke St. John (6-2) on a double by Blake Trahan, an RBI single by Ryan Leonards and an RBI double by Caleb Adams. They added two more runs in the fourth inning on RBI from Trahan and Leonards to round out the scoring.
In the nightcap, the Cajuns opened the scoring in the second inning when Tyler Girouard singled and moved to second on an Adams walk. Jace Conrad singled to load the bases, setting the stage for Davis, who sent a Kevin Hill pitch on a line over the left field wall for a grand slam to give the Cajuns a 4-0 lead. It was the first homer of the season for Davis, who became the 13th Cajun to reach ten or more RBI on the season.
The Cajuns added another run in the fourth when Davis singled and rode home on Kyle Clement's double. Louisiana increased its lead to 7-0 in the fifth when Adams walked and Conrad belted a two run homer to right center. It was the junior second baseman's seventh homer of the season.
Carson Baranik, meanwhile, pitched six scoreless innings, scattering five hits. But the Jaguars came back in the seventh. Baranik walked Drew LaBounty to begin the inning and gave up a single ot Andrew Tindell. That brought in reliever Greg Milhorn, who walked DeGallier, gave up an RBI single to Cameron Cummings and a two run single to the Jags' leading hitter, Cole Gleason to make the score 7-3. Wilson came on for the second time on the day and gave up an RBI single to Matt Wojciechowski and walked Connor Hawthorne. Hayden Jones then hit a ground ball to Conrad, who appeared to start a 4-6-3 double play. But umpire Hank Himmanen ruled Trahan wasn't close enough to the second base bag, and, instead of two out, there was only one. That made the score 7-5. David Knapp hit a sacrifice fly to center for the second out, but LaBounty singled home the tying run with a hit up the middle. That brought in Reagan Bazar (4-0) as the fourth pitcher in the inning and the big freshman got Tindall to line out to finally end the inning.
Reliever James Traylor (1-2) pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of Kevin Hill, who was charged with all seven Cajuns runs in 4.1 innings. But Seth Harrison led off the ninth with a single, stole second and went to third on a ground out. Jace Conrad was intentionally walked, setting the stage for Davis, who lined a single to right field to score Harrison with the winning run.
Bazar, meanwhile, retired the first two batters in the ninth before Knapp and LaBounty had back to back singles. But the 6'7" freshman got Tindall to ground to Leonards at third base, who stepped on the bag for the final out.
The pair of wins brought the Cajuns to 45-7 on the year, 22-4 in Sun Belt play. South Alabama dropped to 21-28, 10-15 in the league. The Jaguars, who are hosting the conference tournament May 21-25, currently sit in sixth place, 1/2 game ahead of Georgia State and Louisiana-Monroe, and one game ahead of ninth place Troy.
The Cajuns will try and get a road sweep over the Jaguars for the first time in school history tomorrow when the two teams meet in the 1 pm finale. Cody Boutte (6-0) will be opposed by right hander Hunter Soleymani (0-2). The game will be broadcast on 96.5 KPEL-FM beginning at 12:30.