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Baseball: Cajuns sweep NCAA Regional Tournament – will face LSU in Super Regional

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 1, 2015

UL Ragin' Cajuns pitcher Dylan Moore (40) celebrates

Click here for photo gallery.

The UL baseball team’s wild run through the postseason was granted another lap Monday.

The 42-21 Ragin’ Cajuns beat Rice 5-2 in the NCAA Houston Regional at Houston’s Cougar Field here, earning a ticket to a best-of-three Super Regional later this week at Baton Rouge Regional-winner LSU.

UL took a 4-0 lead over the Owls behind a three-run fifth inning that featured a two-run single by senior left fielder Evan Powell, who was named the Regional’s Most Outstanding Player.

Rice made it 4-2 with two in the bottom of the fifth and UL — holding on behind the relief pitching of closer Dylan Moore — tacked on one in the top of the eighth. Rice put runners on second and third with one in the bottom of the eighth, but Moore got two groundouts to send UL to the ninth up 5-2.

Moore struck out Ford Stainback with a man on second end it and to send UL, which was in its third consecutive Regional, to its second straight best-of-three Super Regional.

The Cajuns dropped two to Ole Miss in a Super Regional they hosted last year.

The Cajuns — winners of eight straight now — clawed through the 2015 Regional more than they cruised through, despite their 3-0 record in Regional play.

UL, the Regional’s No. 3 seed, beat Rice, the Regional’s No. 2 seed, with a 7-6 win Friday in which it scored five runs in the ninth inning.

The Cajuns went into the bottom of the ninth against No. 1 seed Houston down 1-0 on Sunday, but won 2-1 after Tyler Girouard was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the winning run.

UL then beat a Rice team that advanced to Monday’s afternoon game with a 3-2 losers-bracket win over host Houston that went 20 innings, lasted six hours and two minutes, featured 573 pitches and 155 at-bats and did not end until 2:07 a.m. Monday.

The Cajuns broke a 0-0 tie with Rice when Stefan Trosclair reached on an E5 (Rice’s third baseman field the ball cleanly, then stumbled), stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Tyler Girouard’s single up the middle in the top of the fourth.

The Cajuns stranded two, however, and went to the bottom of the inning up 1-0.

Rice got a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth, but stranded the runner at the third.

UL put up another run in the top of the fifth, when Butler singled to left, went to second on Blake Trahan’s sac bunt, went to third on Brenn Conrad’s base-hit bunt and came across on Kyle Clement’s single to right.

Conrad appeared to re-injured his hamstring running to second on Clement’s hit, and was replaced on the bases by Joe Robbins.

Rice starter Jordan Stephens exited one batter later, reliever John Williamson walked Girouard to load the bases and Powell followed with a two-out, two-RBI single to put UL up 4-0.

Rice answered in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run double to left by Grayson Lewis, cutting the Cajun lead to 4-2.

UL starter Evan Guillory exited after giving up a leadoff single in the sixth and was relieved by Will Bacon, who got a 4-6-3 double play with his first pitch to Connor Teykl.

Bacon got into trouble in the seventh, though, as Rice loaded the bases two singles and Leon Byrd’s fielder’s-choice sac bunt.

Bacon fielded the bunt, looked to third, decided not to throw to first and was relieved by Moore, who set the school record for saves earlier in the Regional against Rice.

Moore, however, struck out the first batter he faced, got a forceout on Greg Davis’ throw home, then got a flyball to centerfield to escape the jam as Rice stranded all three.

When Dylan Butler’s sac fly in the top of the eighth scored Powell, UL was up 5-2, and Moore took care of the rest in the bottom of the eighth and ninth.