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Baseball: Four errors prove costly for UL in loss to No. 10 LSU

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, March 22, 2016



Steven Sensley at the plate as the Cajuns face off against the Tigers in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Baseball Classic at Zephyr Field.(Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE/THE ADVERTISER)


 PHOTO GALLERY: Wally Pontiff Jr. Baseball Classic Photos


METAIRIE — Steven Sensley’s three-run home run in the fifth inning tied the game for UL.

Five LSU pitchers, however, went on to retire 13 straight UL batters in order after the homer en route to the No. 10 Tigers’ 8-5 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns on Tuesday night in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at Zephyr Field here.

On a night the 12-9 Cajuns committed four errors, however, the way they went down late at the plate was not what had a displeased UL coach Tony Robichaux most bothered.

“What killed us was the five unearned runs,” Robichaux said. “That’s it.

“I mean, you’ve got to come in here and play defense. You can’t come in here and spot people runs. (It) blew out our rhythm of our starter (Evan Guillory); (it) made him throw 25-to-27 extra pitches.

“That guy (Guillory) could have (gone) seven innings tonight,” the Cajun coach added. “But you’ve got to play defense. You can’t have six hits and four errors.”

That’s all UL mustered for Robichaux, who moved Stefan Trosclair into the leadoff spot Tuesday to try to get the Cajun All-American going.

Trosclair, UL’s top home-run hitter last year, came in batting just .197.

The senior second baseman walked to open the first, stole second and scored on a pair of wild pitches from LSU righty Cole McKay, who was making his first start and just his fifth appearance of the season.

The Cajuns stranded men on first and third in the second as McKay allowed singles to Dylon Poncho and Hunter Kasuls, but struck out Brian Mills between the two hits and closed with by striking out Nick Thurman and Alex Pinero.

McKay had five strikeouts through the first two innings, then was lifted in favor Doug Norman, who put UL down with three groundouts from the top of the order in the third.

LSU wound up using eight different pitchers.

Guillory, meanwhile, retired the side in order for both of the first two innings. 

But LSU got to Guillory (1-3) in the third, as back-to-back two-out RBI doubles — one ripped down the right-field line by leadoff hitter Kramer Robertston, the other a bloop to left-center from Jake Fraley — put the Tigers up 2-1.

LSU (15-5) made it 5-1 in the fourth.

Beau Jordan first singled and — after the Cajuns botched what could have been a double-play ball — scored on a wild pitch.

Trosclair tried to flip the ball to Kasuls to turn the double play, but Kasuls wound up getting charged with an error and Cole Freeman followed with a two-run single.

“I don’t know what happened,” Trosclair said. “It was a bad flip.”

UL tied it in the fifth, though.

Thurman opened with a ground-rule double, advanced on Pinero’s single and scored on a same-play error.

And three batters after Trosclair singled, with two out and two on, Sensley crushed a 3-2 offering to right to make it 5-5.

It was the second homer of the season for Sensley, who had 21 playing juco ball last season at LSU-Eunice.

But LSU went back up with back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the fifth from Robertson and Fraley, chasing Guillory and prompting Robichaux to bring in Hogan Harris.

Beau Jordan followed with a sac fly off of Harris that scored Fraley, and George Diechmann singled in Jordan, making it 8-5 Tigers.

That held up as UL proceeded to go down in order in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth.

“When we tied up the game it gave us our momentum back,” Sensley said. “But after that, the bats kind of died out a little bit.

“At that point, you’ve just got to keep swinging. There wasn’t very much you can do but just keeping as a team — keep going up there trying to hit the ball hard.”

Facing so many different pitchers, however, didn’t help UL.

“It does matter,” Sensley said, “because you’re seeing different stuff every time you go up there. You know, nobody’s the same.”