Cajuns Rally to Beat McNeese 4-3, Break Losing Streak
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team broke their four-game losing streak by beating the McNeese State Cowboys 4-3 at home on Wednesday night.
The Cajuns are now 21-15 on the season and 15-6 at home.
Head coach Matt Deggs said the team showed him a lot in the victory after a disappointing weekend in Mobile, Alabama.
"We let Cajun nation down against South Alabama," Deggs said. "We responded tonight. When we win the attitude, approach, and toughness game, we're ok. Anything else is inexcusable."
Junior pitcher Austin Perrin started for Louisiana and threw five innings, allowing four hits and three unearned runs while striking out five.
The McNeese offense got to the Cajuns starter in the third inning thanks to some defensive miscues in the frame. Two errors and a bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. Perrin came back with a strikeout, but a groundout gave the Cowboys their first lead of the night. A two-out two-run double was the biggest hit of the inning and allowed McNeese to jump out 3-0.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Cajuns were set up in perfect position to get back into the game. A walk and two singles loaded the bases without any outs, but a strikeout and double-play ended a great opportunity and kept Louisiana scoreless.
All of the runs scored in the third to Perrin were unearned, and he bounced back by stranding two runners in the fourth and throwing a clean fifth inning to end his night.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Josh Cofield hit his first career home run to give the Cajuns their first run of the night and make it 3-1.
Cofield said that he took advantage of his hitter's count to provide the first jolt of the night for Louisiana's offense.
"I got up 1-0," Cofield said. "I saw the fastball, got a barrel on it and let it ride."
The bottom of the sixth inning was the biggest of the night for Louisiana. After Brett Borgogno hit a leadoff single, he stole second base to get in scoring position with two outs. Cofield came up big again to start a huge two-out rally with a RBI-single, bringing home his second run of the night to make it 3-2.
"We were ready to go tonight," Cofield said. "We wanted to prove we were better than what we showed at South Alabama."
Cofield's second RBI-hit was the first of a big rally. CJ Willis cracked a RBI-triple in the next at-bat to tie the game, and Drake Osborn gave the Cajuns their first lead of the night on a RBI-double, the third two-out hit of the frame.
Louisiana used the rally to suddenly take a 4-3 lead, and it was up to the bullpen to shut the Cowboys down to earn the win.
After Jack Burk stranded two runners in the sixth, Blake Marshall and Carter Robinson combined for a clean seventh. Brandon Talley gave up a leadoff double in the eighth but came back for a strikeout. Deggs then called upon Jacob Schultz to record the final five outs of the game. Schultz was lights out, getting the final two outs of the eighth and then striking out all three batters he faced in the ninth to record his third save of the season.
The Cajuns bullpen combined to allow only three hits in the final four scorless innings, striking out seven batters in the process. After the two-out rally in the sixth gave Louisiana their first lead, the bullpen kept McNeese from gaining any momentum to potentially get back in the game.
"What we needed tonight was some good ole' fashioned Cajun baseball," Deggs said. "We have the best fans in the country. They don't deserve anything less than everything we've got."
Up next, Louisiana travels for a huge weekend conference series against the Little Rock Trojans. The Cajuns and Trojans are part of a three-way tie atop the Sun Belt West Division with a 7-5 conference record. Game one of the three-game series starts on Friday at 2:00 p.m.