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Baseball: Cajuns grab road win in 10

Special to the Advertiser, May 16, 2013

MONROE — A 10th-inning fly ball from Jace Conrad fell out of the reach of UL Monroe left fielder Taylor Abdalla resulting in a triple and Dex Kjerstad chopped a single over the drawn-in Warhawks infield to plate the winning run as the UL Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team took the series opener from ULM 5-4 Thursday at Warhawk Field.

Relievers Matt Hicks, Kody Smith and Ben Carter each recorded one out in the 10th inning to preserve the victory as the Cajuns decision to play matchups paid dividends.

UL (36-17, 17-11 Sun Belt) took a 1-0 lead in the season’s second series with ULM (18-34, 7-21 Sun Belt) and remained ahead of Florida Atlantic for the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

The Cajuns erased a 4-2 deficit on a Michael Strentz two-run home run in the eighth inning and forced extra innings after Kendall Mayer recorded consecutive outs after the Warhawks placed the potential winning run at second base in the ninth inning.

The in-state rivals continue the regular-season ending series at 6 p.m. today. Cody Boutte will get the start for Louisiana and he’ll be opposed by Cale Wine.

Kjerstad finished 3-for-5 for his 25th multiple-hit game. Strentz doubled and homered in the contest increasing his team-leading extra base hits total to 28.

It was a scoreless affair through four complete innings. ULM’s Andrew Richardson stranded Cajuns runners on second and third base in the third and fourth inning and Austin Robichaux needed just 39 pitches to record his first 12 outs.

A two-out, two-run single by Caleb Adams broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning. An inning later the Warhawks took the lead on a three-run home run from Dalton Herrington.

A leadoff home run by Dalton Todd in the bottom of the seventh inning upped the ULM lead to 4-2. Ryan Wilson tossed 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to end the Warhawks scoring.

Dylan Butler doubled to lead off the Cajuns half of the eighth inning and Strentz followed with his home run over the left center field fence to draw a 4-4 tie.

ULM got the winning run to second base in the ninth inning on a one-out double from Jeff Fuller. Mayer struck out pinch hitter Chris Dudley and forced Judd Edwards to foul out to Strentz to send the game into extra innings.

BASES NOTED: UL collected 10 base hits marking the 31st game with double digit hits (28-3 record)…Dex Kjerstad has posted a multiple-hit game in 16 of 28 Sun Belt contests … Michael Strentz picked up his 19th double of the season in the fourth inning moving him within one of becoming the first Cajun with 20 doubles since Jonathan Lucroy in 2006 … Caleb Adams increased his RBI total to 48 leaving him two shy of becoming the first Cajun with 50 RBI since Jordan Poirrier tallied 53 in 2011 … Dex Kjerstad recorded his 13th game with at least three hits … Kjerstad extended his season-best hitting streak to seven games … Caleb Adams registered his team-best 13th multiple-RBI game … Michael Strentz’s home run gave Louisiana a home run for the 15th time in the past 16 games … The Cajuns improved to 4-0 this season against the Warhawks … In the season’s first meeting back in March at "The Tigue", the Cajuns swept the Warhawks by a combined score of 16-6…UL pitching has held ULM to just 10 runs over 37 innings in 2013 … Louisiana upped its all-time series lead to 70-52 and increased its advantage in the Sun Belt era to 16-12.