Baseball: Cajuns beat Tigers 4-1 in six innings + photo gallery and post-game video
Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, Feb. 26, 2014
BATON ROUGE — UL coach Tony Robichaux wishes it had gone a full nine innings.
It did not, but that won’t keep his Ragin’ Cajuns from savoring a particularly big victory Tuesday night.
UL knocked off Collegiate Baseball’s No. 1 team in the nation, beating LSU 4-1 in a weather-shortened non-conference game in front of a crowd of 6,159 at Alex Box Stadium here.
The game was called just more than an hour after a lighting-and-rain delay that began when UL, leading by the three runs, had two men on and one out in the top of the sixth inning.
“We wished we could have played the full nine,” UL shortstop Blake Trahan said. “But that’s alright. We’ll take the win.”
The victory was No. 10-ranked UL’s first over a No. 1-ranked team since it beat South Carolina in a 2000 NCAA Super Regional, when the Cajuns went to the College World Series.
“It’s a win, but it’s not the way we wanted to win,” starting pitcher Greg Milhorn said. “We wanted to come out and play nine, straight up. But a win’s a win. We played well.”
“That’s what we’re gonna focus on, is that we played well for the length of time that we had to play,” Robichaux added. “After that, it’s a shame that two good teams couldn’t play nine innings. That’s the bottom line, and in this you’ve got to play nine, not five.”
This one’s considered official, though, because it was a non-conference game and at least five full innings were played.
(SEC games must go nine innings to be ruled official).
The loss was the first of the season for LSU, which is now 7-1.
And the win is the eighth straight for the Cajuns, who improved to 8-1 behind solid pitching from Milhorn (2-0). The junior allowed just four hits and one earned run with two strikeouts through 5.0 innings.
“He (Milhorn) pitched great,” Trahan said. “We played good defense, and it gave us a chance to win.”
UL got a leadoff single from Caleb Adams off of LSU starter Cody Glenn (1-1) to open the game and a single up the middle from Evan Powell in the second, but both Cajun runners were stranded.
But the Cajuns took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third as Seth Harrison sent a triple over centerfielder Andrew Stevenson’s head to score Greg Davis, who had walked, and Harrison scored on Trahan’s sacrifice fly to right.
With two out in the bottom of the third, Trahan made a nifty defensive stop on Mark Laird’s grounder deep in the hole at short.
“We were very fortunate that B.T. (Trahan) made a big play,” Robichaux said. “But that’s the kind of player he is. He makes big plays at big times.”
It wasn’t just the stop, though, that was huge for UL.
After fielding the grounder Trahan threw out Kramer Robertson, who was trying to score from second.
Robertson, unaware of Trahan’s glove play, ran through a stop sign at third and was thrown out well up the line as the Cajuns got out of the inning unscathed.
“When the ball was hit, I knew I needed to stop the ball to a run,” said Trahan, the Sun Belt Conference’s 2013 Freshman of the Year. “And when I looked up, he was going home. So I just made an easy throw to get an out.
“I dove, and popped up to just check him at third, and he was going home, so I just thought to get him.”
UL pushed its lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth, when Michael Strentz singled up the middle and later scored on Jace Conrad’s hard RBI single to third.
It stayed that way until Stevenson led off the top of the fifth with a triple down the right-field line off of Milhorn, then scored on Tyler Moore’s sacrifice fly.
Milhorn, who started his college career at Arkansas and transferred to UL from Northeast Texas Community College, later got out of a jam by inducing Alex Bregman into an inning-ending ground out with two LSU runners on base.
That kept it 3-1 UL.
The Cajuns padded their advantage in the top of the sixth, when Wilson reached on an infield single and eventually came across when Tyler Girouard hit into an E4.
That’s when the delay ensued, and a decision later was made to not try to wait out the weather.
(Two-plus hours later, it was still raining heavily and lightning still was flashing.)
That left a little extra time for UL to focus on nationally ranked Alabama, which visits M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field this weekend for a three-game series.
“It’s hard to control weather. It really is,” Robichaux said. That’s all both of us (he and LSU coach Paul Mainieri) could do, is just play the game. And it ended up being what it is.
“But we’re just gonna focus on what we did well and try to do that again over the week. But, look: From here on in you’re gonna have to play full nine innings. We’re not foolish to believe that we’re gonna play everybody five innings.”