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Baseball: Errors prove fatal for UL against Bobcats

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 20, 2015



UL outfielder Kyle Clement says the Cajuns are hoping a more simplistic approach will create more production. Paul Kieu/The AdvertiserUL outfielder Kyle Clement (7) prepares for a Georgia Southern Pitch during an NCAA baseball against Georgia Southern at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette Saturday. UL outfielder Kyle Clement (7) prepares for a Georgia Southern Pitch during an NCAA baseball against Georgia Southern at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette, LA, Saturday, April 4, 2015.(Photo: Paul Kieu, The Advertiser)


The wind was blowing out, a storm was headed in and the skies above were darkening by the minute.

Under that ominous umbrella, the UL baseball team allowed a costly one to get away Wednesday night.

The Ragin’ Cajuns let a three-run lead in the ninth inning slip, losing 8-7 to Texas State in their Sun Belt Conference Tournament opener at Riddle-Pace Field here.

UL committed two two-out errors during a four-run ninth for the Bobcats – a drop in left field by Kyle Clement that allowed two runs to score, and a ball misplayed at second base by Stefan Trosclair that kept the inning alive and helped to set the stage for David Paiz’s bases-loaded, two-run double.

As a result, the third-seeded Cajuns – now 34-21 – will play an elimination game Thursday against the loser of Wednesday night’s rain-delayed meeting between Texas-Arlington and host Troy.

"As an individual, you’re out there on the field, you’ve got to be ready to make that last play," said UL’s All-American shortstop, Blake Trahan. "That’s all it comes down to, is that last play, and you’ve just go to make it.

"It’s nobody’s fault. It’s nobody on our team’s fault," Trahan added. "Everybody contributed. We just didn’t finish."

Trosclair and Evan Powell both homered and each had two RBIs for UL, and Trahan was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs as well as the Cajuns out-hit the Bobcats 11-10.

None of that mattered, though, after what happened in the ninth.

"When momentum changes on you, it’s sometimes tough to get back," UL coach Tony Robichaux said. "The hitters did a great job. We pitched good enough to win. (But) momentum switched on us right there, and we didn’t make a play.

"Like I’ve said before, a thousand times, you know, everybody calls this ‘a team game’ – until somebody makes a mistake, then it becomes ‘an individual sport.’ But the bottom line is you have to overcome it, move on."

Closer Dylan Moore – who has nine saves this season, second-most in the Sun Belt going into the tourney – came on to work the ninth for UL, trying to protect a 7-4 lead.

He had two outs but runners on first and second when Clement, taking a few steps from where he first camped out, was unable to handle a fly ball by Granger Studdard.

Neither Trosclair or Clement were made available to media members after the game. When asked if Clement might have lost the ball in the wind the Cajun coach said "no."

"It’s an emotional thing when a kid makes a mistake like that," Robichaux said. "So, as I told our team, ‘We win together, we lose together.’

"This is not Clem’s fault. We could have gotten another run in the game. (Starting pitcher) Gunner (Leger) could have not gave up a three-run inning. … We win as team, we lose as a team."

After Moore (3-3) walked a batter, Trosclair’s error loaded the bases.

Up stepped David Paiz, who in the fourth inning delivered a three-run homer off of Leger.

With the storm about to let loose, Paiz shot to right – producing his fifth and sixth RBI of the night – gave Texas State (23-30-1) a one-run lead.

Joe Robbins grounded out, Trosclair flew out following a Clement walk and Tyler Girouard grounded out to first to end it in the bottom of the ninth.

"Moore did his job, man. The hitters did their job. The pitchers did their job," Trahan said. "We’ve just got to make plays down the stretch."

The Cajun offense did produce plenty early, though.

Powell singled in Girouard, who had doubled and moved to third when Nick Thurman reached on a two-base error in left, to put UL up 1-0. And when Greg Davis hit into a double play, Thurman scored on the fielder’s choice to make it 2-0.

UL home run leader Trosclair homered over the 30-foot high scoreboard wall in right-center in the bottom of the third to put the Cajuns up 3-0, but Paiz answered with his three-run homer to left to tie it in the top of the fourth.

The long-ball battle continued as Powell homered to straightaway centerfield to lead off the bottom of the fourth, and UL led 4-3.

Trahan followed with a shot to right that scored Davis, who singled up the middle, and Dylan Butler, who doubled, but Trahan was thrown out at third trying to stretch things out.

UL wound out running itself out of the inning, as both Brenn Conrad and Clement were thrown out trying to steal second.

Paiz trimmed the Cajun advantage to 6-4 with an RBI single in the sixth, and after recording the second out of the inning – a strikeout looking, his fifth of give Ks – Leger was replaced on the mound by Will Bacon with runners on first and second.

Bacon threw 2.1 scoreless innings and the Cajuns took a 7-4 lead when Trosclair’s double scored Robbins in the seventh.

Ultimately, though, they would need more insurance than that – and never did get any.

"(Leger) let one inning get away from him that I thought he could have handled a little bit better," Robichaux said, "but other than that I thought we played a good ballgame.

"I mean, a three-run lead with our closer on the mound. You figure that we’ve got a great opportunity. … That’s why you’ve got to make plays, and we didn’t."

Sun Belt Baseball Tournament

(All games at Troy, Ala.)

Wednesday’s Games

Georgia St. 3, Ga. Southern 2

South Alabama 6, Arkansas State 2

4 p.m. – No. 3 UL vs. No. 6 Texas State

7:30 p.m. – No. 2 Troy vs. No. 7 UTA

Thursday’s Games

9 a.m. – Ga. Southern vs. Arkansas St.

12:30 p.m. – Game 3 vs. Game 4 losers

4 p.m. – South Alabama vs. Georgia St.

7:30 p.m. – Game 3 vs. Game 4 winners

Friday’s Games

3 p.m. – Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7

6:30 – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8

Saturday’s Games

9 a.m. – Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9

12:30 –Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10

4 p.m. – *Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11

7:30 – #Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12

* Game 13 is necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11.

# Game 14 is necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12.

Sunday’s Games

1 p.m. – Winner Game 11/13 vs. Winner Game 12/14 (ESPN3)