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Baseball: Cajuns survive with win over Texas-Arlington

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 22, 2015



UL pitcher Evan Guillory hurls a pitch during the Ragin’ Cajuns’ game against Texas-Arlington in Game 10 of the Sun Belt Conference baseball tournament.(Photo: Sun Belt Conference)


Evan Guillory had a job to do Friday night: Go as long as he could.

Reliever Chris Charpentier and UL’s top-of-the-order bats took care of the rest as the Ragin’ Cajuns beat Texas-Arlington 5-1 in an elimination game at Riddle-Pace Field to stay alive in the Sun Belt Conference baseball tournament.

“When you get this late in a tournament (third day) and you’ve still got to work your way through the loser’s bracket,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said, “this pitching performance is gonna be real important — and Evan (Guillory) did a great job. … He did a beautiful job for us.”

As a result the 36-21 and third-seeded Cajuns play sixth-seeded Texas State, who beat team 8-7 in the tourney opener for both teams Wednesday, at 12:30 p.m. today.

It will be an elimination game for UL, and if UL wins the same two teams will play later for a ticket to Sunday’s title game.

UL’s first four batters Friday — Blake Trahan, Kyle Clement, Stefan Trosclair and Tyler Girouard — were a combined 8-for-16 with three RBI and three runs scored against seventh-seeded UTA.

Charpentier threw the final 3.0 innings and had strikeouts for six of his nine outs and he and true-freshman Guillory combined for 13 Ks — tied for the most in a nine-inning game for the Cajuns this season.

“He can do a lot of things,” Robichaux said of Charpentier, a sophomore listed generously at 5-foot-9 and 169 pounds.

“What I like about him, and people watch it, is he’ll run a fastball up there 88-to-90 (miles per hour), and he’ll catch you napping inside if you’re not watching — because he looks like he’s 10 years old, but he can go out and there and he’s got a little velocity behind that little body, and he pitches a lot bigger than he really us.

Guillory exited after 6.0 innings of work with just five hits and the one run allowed, only one walk issued and seven strikeouts on 110 pitches.

“I knew this was gonna be one of my most-important starts of the season as we continue the season,” Guillory said.

“We knew pitching was gonna be scarce this weekend,” he added, “so Coach Robe told me before the game to throw as long as I could. … I went as deep as I could, and they kept fouling off pitching and getting my pitching count, so Charpentier did a good job coming in after me to save our bullpen for the rest of the week.”

Robichaux said either Wyatt Marks, who struggled against Troy Thursday and excited after just 25 pitches, or Will Bacon, who’s already made two tourney appearances, will start Saturday afternoon.

He also did rule out having Gunner Leger, who started Wednesday, coming back Sunday if the Cajuns make it that far.

“We’ll see when we get to that point,” Robichaux said.

UL jumped to a 5-0 lead Friday that included three runs in the second.

Girouard opened things with a double to deep left that scored Clement, who reached on a fielder’s choice.

In the second, Dylan Butler rolled a single up the middle off a 3-2 offering that both scored both Joe Robbins, who singled, and Nick Thurman, who doubled.

Before the inning was done, Clement singled in Trahan, who reached on a fielder’s choice, to make it 4-0 Cajuns.

Clement then doubled off the bull’s-eye on the 27-foot wall in right in the fourth, and Trosclair singled him to give UL its five-run cushion.

“We’ve got some hot guys at the top of the lineup, and, really, this tournament we’ve been consistent throughout,” said Clement, who was 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored.

“Last weekend at (UL Monroe) really got us going. We got 6, 7, 8 going again, so now really having a leak in the lineup is really helping us out,” he added. “It’s not just the top guys. It’s everybody.”

UTA did not score until the sixth, when Matt McLean led off with a double off Guillory and Levi Scott drove him in with a one-out single.

It remained scoreless from there.

“Our hitters did a good job early,” Robichaux said. “They did shut us down midway through the game, but because of good pitching with Evan (Guillory) we were able to get this one in, so now we survive and advance.”