Louisiana Bats Stay Hot With 10-8 Road Win Against McNeese State
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team overcame a late deficit to beat the McNeese State Cowboys 10-8 on the road.
With the victory, Louisiana improved to 9-7 in 2022. For the second straight game, the Cajun bats got 17 hits. Louisiana's pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts in the win.
The Cajuns' offense got off to a hot start in the game with four runs on four hits in the first inning. Will Veillon and Kyle DeBarge each singled to open the frame. A sacrifice fly by Carson Roccaforte and a bunt single by Heath Hood scored two runs before a two-out inside-the-park home run by Connor Kimple put the Cajuns up 4-0.
Peyton Havard got the start for Louisiana and had a stellar performance. In three innings of work, he gave up three hits and one unearned run. McNeese scored their first run in the third inning, but Havard stranded two base runners with a groundout. Brandon Talley entered in the fourth for the Cajuns out of the bullpen and kept the Cowboys off the board.
The fifth inning completely turned the momentum of the game. Veillon singled and advanced to second with one out on a wild pitch, but the Cajuns stranded him in scoring position. Hayden Durke relieved Talley in the bottom half of the inning and got two quick outs before things spiraled out of control.
The Cowboys got a two-out single, and three straight walks had the bases loaded with the Cajuns lead cut to 4-2. The second single of the inning plated two runs to tie it. McNeese scored three runs with two outs on only two hits to make it 4-4. Dylan Theut entered out of the bullpen and finally recorded the third out.
Hood cracked a triple to start the sixth inning, and a RBI-groundout by Kimple put the Cajuns back in front. However, Theut gave up a walk and two singles in the bottom half of the inning. Bo Bonds was the next pitcher out of the bullpen, and a two-out single gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game at 7-5.
Louisiana had an excellent opportunity to answer in the top of the seventh inning when McNeese walked the leadoff batter and Veillon recorded his third hit of the night in the next at-bat. Instead, the Cowboys made a call to the bullpen, and a fly-out, strikeout, and groundout stranded both runners. McNeese kept the momentum but went down in order to end the seventh.
The Cajuns came up with a huge rally in the eighth, and the biggest hit of the entire game was unique. Julian Brock and Warnner Rincones each hit RBI-singles after the first two runners reached base. With two outs, DeBarge hit a ball that bounced off the Cowboy reliever and rolled into the foul territory in the outfield. Two runs scored on the play, and DeBarge made it to third base for a triple to the pitcher. Louisiana retook the lead at 9-7 thanks to the rally.
Chipper Menard struck out each batter he faced in the eighth on the mound for the Cajuns, and Louisiana's offense tacked on insurance in the final frame. Carson Roccaforte cracked a leadoff triple, and Hood brought him home with his third hit of the night.
In the bottom half of the ninth, Jacob Schultz gave up a two-out solo home run, but a groundout ended the game. Louisiana held on to win 10-8, improving to 9-7 in 2022.
Up next, Louisiana starts Sun Belt Conference play with a three-game weekend series on the road against the Troy Trojans. Troy is 11-5 this season and 9-1 at home. Game one is scheduled for Friday, March 18 at 6:00 p.m.