Louisiana Sweeps Arkansas State With Crazy 7-4 Win in 10 Innings
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns came back from an early 4-0 deficit to beat the Arkansas State Red Wolves in extra innings and sweep the weekend series.
With the win, Louisiana improved to 18-14 overall and 7-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Cajuns wrapped up a five-game road trip with a 4-1 record. Head coach Matt Deggs praised his team's grit after completing the series sweep.
"It's about just finding a way to win," Deggs said. "We played really good defense again today. We stepped up when we had to. We bent, but we never broke. It was a great job of gritty resilience by us. It was a great week on the road."
Arkansas State scored first with a two-out RBI-single in the second inning against starting pitcher Jeff Wilson. The Cajuns got two leadoff hits in the top of the third, but they were unable to bring the tying run in. This gave the Red Wolves momentum that they used to increase their lead in the bottom half of the frame.
Arkansas State scored three runs on five hits in the third inning. Wilson exited for Dylan Theut with two outs in the inning, and the Cajun reliever was finally able to record the third out. Louisiana had a 4-0 hole to dig out of.
The fifth inning brought the Cajuns right back into the game. Jonathan Brandon, who had a monster day, hit a leadoff double to start things off. Bobby Lada reached on a throwing error and made it to second base while Brandon scored Louisiana's first run of the day. Max Marusak hit a RBI-single, and Tyler Robertson hit another single in the next at-bat. A fielding error by the left fielder scored Marusak to cut the lead to 4-3. Kyle DeBarge singled to move Robertson to third base, and a third error in the inning scored him. Carson Roccaforte hit a fly ball that was simply dropped for an error that plated the tying run.
In total, Louisiana scored four runs on four hits. They took advantage of three fielding errors by the Red Wolves to tie the game. A fly-out stranded two in scoring position.
The Cajun bullpen did a great job of working around trouble in this game. Theut threw 2.2 scoreless innings before David Christie entered in relief in the bottom of the sixth. Christie fielded two groundouts to strand the leading runner at third base.
With the game still tied going into the eighth inning, things got wild. The Cajuns nearly had a two-out rally to take the lead, but Brandon lost a play at the plate on a potential RBI-single by Julian Brock. Then the bottom of the eighth happened.
Tommy Ray relieved Christie. A single and throwing error put two runners in scoring position without any outs. Deggs went to Roccaforte for his pitching debut to get one out, but he walked the only batter he faced to load the bases. Ray went back onto the mound and got two massive strikeouts which allowed a groundout to end the inning. The Cajuns got out of situation where the bases were loaded without any outs and kept the game tied in the process.
Louisiana loaded the bases on a two-out rally in the ninth. Robertson doubled, DeBarge reached on an error, and the Red Wolves intentionally walked Roccaforte. However, a groundout ended the threat.
Cooper Rawls came in for the Cajuns in the bottom of the ninth and got the final three outs of regulation to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Louisiana rallied again. With one out in the inning, Brandon walked to reach base for the fifth time in the game. Brock singled, and aggressive base running had two runners in scoring position. Lada walked to load the bases and a wild pitch scored the eventual game-winning run. Marusak got insurance with a two-RBI single to send the Cajuns into the bottom of the 10th with a commanding 7-4 lead.
Rawls got the final three outs, using a double-play to retire the side and earn his second win of the road trip. Louisiana completed the comeback and swept Arkansas State with a 7-4 win in 10 innings.
Louisiana's bullpen threw 7.1 scoreless innings in the game. The Cajuns out-hit the Red Wolves 13-11 as well.
Up next, Louisiana comes home to face McNeese State on Tuesday, April 12. The Cajuns beat McNeese 10-8 on the road the first time the two teams played in March. After that, they have a three-game weekend series against UL-Monroe at Russo Park.