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Baseball: Cajuns come back to beat Rice in NCAA Regional + Viewing Party Photo Gallery

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 30, 2015


PHOTO GALLERY: NCAA Regional Baseball: UL vs. Rice

HOUSTON – For a second straight outing, the Ragin’ Cajuns pulled off a postseason win in the most dramatic of fashion.

Down by four runs going to the ninth, UL rallied with five runs in the top of the inning to beat Rice 7-6 in Game 1 of the NCAA Houston Regional.

The victory came five days after the Cajuns used Stefan Trosclair’s grand slam to beat No. 1 seed South Alabama 5-1 in the 12th inning of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title game.

Down 6-2 going to the ninth, UL loaded the bases before Evan Powell singled in Kyle Clement to make it a three-run game.

Greg Davis followed by lining a two-run single up the middle, cutting the Rice lead to one with no outs and Cajuns on first and second.

Nick Thurman then sacrificed the two runners over with a bunt and was safe E1 on a high throw, loading the bases again.

And when No. 9 hitter Dylan Butler walked, forcing in Powell, the game was tied at 6-6 – still with no outs.

Blake Trahan’s sacrifice fly to centerfield scored pinch-runner Jam Williams with the go-ahead run, and in the bottom of the ninth true freshman closer Dylan Moore retired the side in order with a flyout to centerfield and two 4-3 groundouts for his school-record 12th save of the season.

UL Ragin' Cajuns outfielder Jam Williams (33) runsBuy Photo

UL Ragin’ Cajuns outfielder Jam Williams (33) runs to home plate to score the eventual game-winning run off of a fly out by shortstop Blake Trahan (4) during the ninth inning of an NCAA regional baseball game at the University of Houston in Lafayette, La., Friday, May 29, 2015. (Photo: Paul Kieu, The Advertiser)

The win sends UL (40-21) into the winners bracket of the four-team, double-elimination Regional.

As a result, the Cajuns will face the winner of Friday night’s game between host Houston and Houston Baptist on Saturday night.

Rice broke through first and took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth, when UL true freshman starter Wyatt Marks walked the first two batters he faced.

Charlie Warren advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Connor Tykel’s sacrifice fly to centerfield, and Ford Stainback came across on a passed ball.

Kirby Taylor singled, moved to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a John Williamson single and scored on Grayson Lewis’ misplayed sacrifice bunt to put the Owls up 3-0 with one out in the top of the fifth.

With that, Marks exited and – as pre-planned – Will Bacon (6-2) entered for UL in relief.

Bacon retired the only two batters he faced in the fifth, and in the sixth Butler walked, moved to second on Trahan’s sacrifice bunt and scored when Joe Robbins drilled a two-out double down the left-field to make it 3-1 Rice.

When Tyler Girouard singled for UL with one out in the top of the seventh, Rice starter Blake Fox exited to a standing ovation that included a whole bunch of Cajun fans on their feet and clapping with respect.

Fox, an MLB Draft prospect, allowed just four hits and was on the hook for two runs in 6.1 innings of work.

After Fox left, Powell doubled Girouard to third and Girouard scored when Davis grounded out to third, making it 3-2 Rice.

The Owls generated an insurance run in the seventh as Ryan Chandler singled and later came across on Lewis’ sac bunt.

Chandler doubled in two more in the eighth, sending Rice into the ninth up 6-2 and making what already was a tough task much tougher for the Cajuns.

Just not tough enough.

Jacqueline Levet, left, Maura Kelley and other UL baseball

Click here for viewing party at the Tigue for UL vs. Rice in Houston Regional NCAA Baseball Game.