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Baseball: Edwards pulls off rare feat in UL baseball win – photo gallery included

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 3, 2017

Ishmael Edwards dives for home and beats the throw
Ishmael Edwards dives for home and beats the throw for an inside-the-park home during the four inning of UL’s 10-2 win over South Alabama on Sunday. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER) 

Click here for photo gallery of South Alabama weekend series with the Cajuns.

It hasn’t happened in more than eight years for the UL baseball team.
But Ishmael Edwards pulled it off Sunday, helping UL beat South Alabama 10-2 on M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
With Handsome Monica on second base and Kennon Fontenot on third in the fourth inning, Edwards delivered a shot to right field that caromed off the brick wall in the corner at The Tigue.
After Monica and Fontenot scored, Edwards slid in with UL’s first inside-the-park home run since Kyle Olasin had one against McNeese State on March 17, 2009.
“That was crazy,” Ragin’ Cajuns starting pitcher Hogan Harris said of Edwards scoring. “I barely could get into second.”
Monica watched as Edwards came across behind him.
“I was just enjoying the moment. That was great,” the Cajun catcher said. “Kennon (Fontenot) was the one telling him to get down. I was just, honestly, in awe to see an inside-the-park home run like that.”
Edwards, UL’s senior centerfielder and leadoff hitter, actually wasn’t sure he was going to make it.
“To my surprise,” he said, “I saw Coach (Jeremy) Talbot (UL’s hitting coach and third-base coach) halfway down the line, and then when the dugout was going crazy I kind of thought, ‘I guess I’m going home.’ ”
Robichaux had no idea when UL’s last in-the-parker was.
He had a feeling Edwards might get around, though.
“By the time the outfielder (Eddie Paparella) got to it,” Robichaux said, “his momentum was gonna be really going away from home plate.
“He (Paparella) would have to stop his momentum. … So I thought that might be the difference to get him (Edwards) in. Didn’t know he’d get in, but he was fast-enough to.”
Shortstop Drew LaBounty, who also had a home run in South Alabama’s 6-0 win Saturday night, opened with a leadoff homer to centerfield.
UL tied it later in the first, when Edwards scored on Steven Sensley’s sacrifice fly to left.
South Alabama led off a second straight inning with another homer, this one from Paparella in the third, to make it 2-1.
“The way I think of it is, basically, ‘Once it happens you can’t do anything about it,’ ” Harris said of giving up the two solo shots. “So you might as well just keep on going and not think about it.”
Harris did not and the Cajuns didn’t allow any more scoring in a combined eight-hitter as the sophomore lefty went 5.0 innings, reliever Jevin Huval went 3.0 and closer Dylan Moore retired the side in order in the ninth.
UL tied it in the third as Hunter Kasuls singled, stole second and scored on Edwards’ single, then took a 4-2 lead with Joe Robbins’ two-run homer to right-center.
“I was freaking out,” Harris said of Robbins’ team-high fourth homer of the season. “I enjoyed that a lot. I was yelling in the dugout and everything. Coach Robe had to tell me to calm down.”
An RBI-double from Monica put the Cajuns ahead 5-2 and Edwards’ inside-the-park homer had UL up 8-2 heading into the fifth. Alex Pinero later drove in Tyler Stover in the fifth, and Sensely scored Brenn Conrad in the sixth.
Edwards was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI.
UL (16-12, 6-3) took the Sun Belt Conference series 2-1 and has now won each of its six weekend series this season.
UL plays host to Southland Conference-member Nicholls on Tuesday night.