Louisiana Wins 15 Inning Marathon 4-3 Against UT-Arlington
It took 15 innings, but the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns picked up a big 4-3 game one victory against the UT-Arlington Mavericks.
The win improved Louisiana's record to 27-20 and 10-9 in Sun Belt Conference play this season. They have won four-straight games and are now in sole possession of second place in the Sun Belt West Division. They are one game behind the Mavericks for the division lead.
The pitching staff was phenomenal for the Cajuns. Spencer Arrighetti got the start and threw seven quality innings, and the bullpen gave up only three total hits from the start of the ninth until the end of the 15th inning.
Head coach Matt Deggs talked about the effort from the pitchers that he went to in the extra-inning marathon.
"Our bullpen was gigantic tonight," Deggs said. "They looked like a bunch of bulls coming out of there tonight. There were a lot of heroes."
The Mavericks used a two-out rally in the bottom of the first to score the first run of the game on Arrighetti. After the Cajuns ace only needed four pitches to record the first two outs, UT-Arlington used a single, walk, and RBI-single to take a 1-0 lead. Arrighetti was able to get the final out to strand the bases loaded in the inning.
After that, Arrighetti settled in and threw six-straight scoreless frames for Louisiana. He finished with seven innings pitched, allowing seven hits with six strikeouts and two earned runs.
In the fifth inning, the Cajuns offense finally got to the Mavericks ace. Bobby Lada started things off with a leadoff double and Drake Osborn used the second double of the inning to bring him home. Ben Fitzgerald sent a single up the middle to score Osborn and Louisiana had a 2-1 lead.
Two singles for the Cajuns put runners at the corners with one out in the eighth inning, and CJ Willis beat out a potential double-play ball to record a RBI-groundout and make it 3-1.
Arrighetti gave up a leadoff single in the bottom half of the eighth inning, and the Cajuns made a move to the bullpen. A one-out home run tied the game, but it was the only run the Mavericks would score on Louisiana's bullpen.
While the Cajuns pitching staff held the game at 3-3, the offense struggled to string together a big inning. They had an excellent chance in the 12th when they loaded the bases with two outs, but a line-out ended the opportunity.
Louisiana pitchers Chipper Menard and Jeff Wilson both did an excellent job of keeping the Mavericks from getting any chance to walk the game off in extra innings. Menard threw 2.2 scoreless innings and only gave up one hit while striking out four in extras. Wilson also allowed only one hit and struck out three over his 1.2 scoreless innings.
In the 15th inning, the Cajuns offense finally had another chance to take the lead. A leadoff single was erased by a fielders choice, but a double and intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. Josh Cofield sent a ball to left field for a sacrifice fly-out and the Cajuns had finally broken through to take a 4-3 lead.
Dane Dixon came on to pitch the final half-inning of the marathon, and, even though a leadoff baserunner reached due to the only Cajuns error of the night, he came back to retire three of the next four Mavericks to earn his first save of the night and seal the win.
Deggs complimented his team's defense and overall effort in the 15-inning contest.
"I thought our defense was phenomenal tonight," Deggs said. "It was a great team effort. They never gave up."
Up next, the Cajuns have a chance to take first place in the Sun Belt West Division with a doubleheader tomorrow against the Mavericks. After playing 15 innings today, the two teams will play at least 18 tomorrow.
"It's going to be a quick turn-around tomorrow with the doubleheader," Deggs said. "We like having Cooke on the mound to start. We've got to defend again and find a way to punch more runners through the plate."
The first game of the doubleheader starts at 2:00 p.m. Connor Cooke will pitch that game, and the second game will start following the conclusion of the first.