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Baseball: Cajuns Win 10th Consecutive Series, Downs UALR 5-2 in Second Game

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 13, 2014

Greg Milhorn was solid in his second appearance back from an oblique pull. Tyler Girouard produced in his first game after missing two with a bruised kneecap, sustained four nights earlier when he was hit by a pitch. And Dylan Butler somehow returned one night after running knee-first into the corner of a brick wall, then getting carted off the field.


What injuries?

The UL baseball team overcame much that’s been hampering it physically lately to beat Arkansas-Little Rock 5-2 in front of a season-high 4,439 on Saturday night at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.

"It’s awesome to get everyone back," Girouard said.

"That’s our whole thing, is to just to keep coming," UL coach Tony Robichaux said. "I think it epitomizes us, with Butler going into the wall (Friday night) then coming back our (Saturday) and doing what he did."

Dating back to late last season, and combined with Friday night’s 7-0 victory, the win Saturday guaranteed UL its 10th straight weekend series victory.

"That’s what we want to do, is … be better than somebody two out of three nights," said Robichaux, coach of a team ranked No. 1 nationally by Collegiate Baseball that is not shy about its College World Series aspirations. "Because that’s what a Super Regional entails. You’ve got to be better than your opponent two nights out of a weekend.

"It’s a tough game to be consistent in – and that’s the maturity of this team, is being able to be consistent."

In the middle game of a three-game Sun Belt Conference series that concludes this afternoon with Cody Boutte on the mound for UL, Milhorn and starter Ryan Wilson combined on a five-hitter.

Wilson allowed just one win and four hits over his 5.0 innings.

Milhorn gave up one run and only one hit in his 4.0 relief innings as the Cajuns, off to their best start in school history, improved to 33-4 overall and 13-1 in SBC play.

Designated-hitter Girouard drove in two runs with a key fifth-inning single, and Butler – surprisingly entering as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning – joined Blake Trahan in delivering two hits for UL.

"Luckily the swelling wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be," said Butler, who singled and doubled in his only two at-bats. "(Friday night) I went to bed hurt, and when I woke up it was feeling okay.

"The plan was for me to take a day off," added Butler, who was injured trying to chase down a foul ball at the side wall in right. "But once they brought that lefty (Chase Rousseau) in, they decided to get me an at-bat and see what happened, see if I could do it. And I felt good, so they left me out there."

Girouard got UL going by leading off the second inning with a walk, moving to second on Caleb Adams’ bunt, stealing third as part of a double-steal with Adams and finally scoring on Chase Compton’s one-out sacrifice fly to right.

The Cajuns picked up another in the third, making it 3-0 when Jace Conrad singled in Nick Thurman, who had tripled.

UALR (13-19, 3-11) cut the UL lead in half in the fifth, when it got its only run off of Wilson on his own throwing error.

But the Cajuns used a three-run fifth to take a 5-1 advantage as Girouard singled to left-center to score Trahan and Ryan Leonards, and – after Girouard stole second – Seth Harrison had an RBI-single to left-center.

With Milhorn in, the Trojans did tack on a meaningless run in the top of the seventh.

But Milhorn retired them in order in the eighth and did the same by inducing three groundouts in the ninth – two to Leonards at third base, one to Trahan at short – to record his first career save.

"I felt good," said Milhorn, who has now missed five weekend starts but returned in relief in last Wednesday’s win at McNeese State. "It’s good to be back throwing. … I feel back to normal. I’m good to go."

Just as he’s thought he’d be for a while now.

"I know Coach (Robichaux) was probably getting a little irritated with me because I kept trying to come back a little sooner," Milhorn said. "But he made me wait – and probably for the best."

LAGNIAPPE: Adams extended his streak of consecuctive games reaching base to 31 games and Conrad extended his to 27. … With a single tonight, Harrison extended his hit streak to 12 games and his games-reaching streak to 23. … With 10 hits, Saturday marked the 26th time in 37 games this season that UL has had 10 or more hits. It had 10 Saturday. … Robichaux said Matt Hicks and Ben Carter both will be available out of the bullpen today.

UALR at No. 1 UL

WHERE: M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field

WHEN: 1 p.m., today.

RECORDS: UALR 13-19, 3-11; UL 33-4, 13-1.

RADIO: KPEL 96.5 FM with Jay Walker

TV: None

PITCHING MATCHUP: UL senor LHP Cody Boutte vs. (4-0, 3.78 ERA) vs. junior RHP Cameron Allen (3-2, 3.60 ERA)