Baseball: Cajuns Move to 52-7 – advance to SBC Championship Game at 1:00 CST Sunday
MOBILE, Ala. – The top-seeded and second-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team never trailed in a rematch with Texas State on Saturday as Louisiana won 4-3 at Stanky Field to advance to the Sun Belt Conference Championship game for the second straight year and fifth time in program history. The Cajuns have won nine straight games heading into the title game.
“I’m proud of our guys grinding out a win today, head coach Tony Robichaux said. “We’ll go get some much-needed rest and try to finish this thing out tomorrow. One thing this team has done really well is every day they’ve gotten ready to play. It was rise and grind, and they grinded it out.”
With the victory, the Cajuns move to 52-7 on the year and tie the Sun Belt record for wins in a season equaling the mark set by South Florida in 1986. Louisiana will play the winner of second-seeded UT Arlington and third-seeded Arkansas State tomorrow at 1 p.m. The game can be seen live on the Sun Belt Network and will be broadcast on KPEL 96.5 FM.
Starter Cody Boutte posted another quality start in the contest limiting the Bobcats to two runs on five hits in seven innings with a strikeout. With the victory, Boutte moves into second on the team in wins with eight.
“Cody got us off to a good start,” Robichaux added. “For the last month and a half, we haven’t been good at holding a lead for Cody. Today, we were able to do that. Matt Plitt came in and got that critical ground ball double play and then shut the door in the ninth.”
Plitt earned his fourth save in the game coming in and getting the final five outs to close out the win. The senior allowed just one hit with a strikeout in 1.2 innings.
Offensively, both teams had seven hits led by Caleb Adams who was 3-for-4 with a home run and scored twice. Blake Trahan was a perfect 2-for-2 in the game with a pair of triples and two RBI.
Louisiana jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the top of the second. Adams got things going offensively as he blasted his 11th home run of the season off of the scoreboard in left for a solo homer. After Kyle Clement and Michael Strentz reached on a pair of errors, Trahan brought them home as he tripled to deep left center to give the Cajuns a three-run edge.
Cody Lovejoy cut into the Ragin’ Cajuns lead in the bottom of the third driving in Cody Perkins on a ground ball hit to short to make the score 3-1.
Chase Compton added a run in the top of the sixth sending a double into the right center gap to score Adams from first base. Adams reached in the inning on single to left.
Trahan led off the seventh with a triple down the left field line, but Hunter Lempke locked in to get three straight ground ball outs to strand Trahan at third. With one out, shortstop Garrett Mattlage made an impressive diving stop on a hard hit ball by Seth Harrison to keep a run off of the board.
Texas State rallied in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Ryan Wilson to cut the Louisiana lead to 4-3. With two runners on and one out, Mattlage sent a double into the gap in left center to plate a run. Following a walk to Granger Studdard, Lovejoy came in to score on a wild pitch to pull the Bobcats within a run. Louisiana turned to Plitt who induced a double play ball to short on the first pitch he threw to end the threat.
In the bottom of the ninth, Plitt worked around a one-out double to close out the game getting pinch hitter Colby Targun to fly out to left for the last out.
The Cajuns baseball team will host an NCAA Selection Show watch party on Monday morning with gates opening at 10:30 a.m. and the show starting at 11 a.m. Admission is free and there will be free popcorn and snow cones as well as a chance to meet the team and get autographs following the selection show.
— Ragin’ Cajuns —
Cox Communications Athletics Center