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Baseball: Glass hurls Cajuns past W. Kentucky

Eric Narcisse

For the second consecutive night, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns starting pitching gave the bullpen the night off by tossing the club’s 12th complete game of the year.
One game after Hunter Moody completed the feat, sophomore Buddy Glass did the same en route to leading the Cajuns to a 3-1 victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers before 2,302 fans on Friday night.

The victory, which improves the Cajuns to 36-18 overall and 18-5 in the Sun Belt Conference, keeps UL’s hopes alive for the regular season championship and No. 1-seed in the conference tournament.

“Not too many people can have their last game of the season mean something,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said. “Our last game is going to mean something.”

Glass (8-2), who recorded his fifth complete game of the season, allowed one earned run on seven hits, one walk, while striking out eight as he out dueled Hilltoppers pitcher Liam Shanahan, who tossed a complete game as well, allowing three earned runs on seven hits, two walks, while striking out three.

“Today went really well,” said Glass, who threw 129 pitches in the victory. “My defense worked hard behind me, I had all three of my pitches working and I was able to command both sides of the plate.”

Glass’ defense wasted little time showing they were ready to play, when left fielder Alex Preciado robbed Hilltoppers’ leadoff hitter Matt Ransdell of a home run, by going over the wall to bring the ball back.
“Our defense did fine,” Cajuns first baseman Jefferies Tatford, who was the lone hitter with multiple hits going 2-for-3 with an RBI. “Alex really set the tempo defensively for us at the beginning of that game by taking away that home run. Defensively, we played solid.”

After WKU (22-27, 5-17) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning with a RBI ground out by center fielder Corteze Armstrong, the Cajuns took their first lead of the night at 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning on back-to-back RBI doubles.

“You always want to answer back as an offense,” Robichaux said. “That’s huge for a pitcher when his offense answers back, because it sends him back the next inning with confidence. That was huge for the hitters to back the pitcher.”

After third baseman Devery Van De Keere began the inning with a walk then advancing to second on a pickoff attempt error by Shanahan, catcher Johnathon Lucroy drove him in with a RBI double to center field.

“It’s a lot easier to score offensively when your pitcher is keeping you in the game,” said Lucroy, who finished the day 1-for-4. “Buddy was keeping us in the game and all I was trying to do was hit the ball hard. I knew eventually I’d get a good pitch and I got it.”

Lucroy came around to score when the ensuing batter Tatford, delivered an RBI double to give the Cajuns a 2-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

“We didn’t come out like we wanted to offensively,” Tatford said. “But we stayed after it.”

That was all the run support Glass would need as the Hilltoppers wouldn’t get a baserunner to third base the rest of the game.

“What Buddy has learned from his freshman year to this year is how to handle the middle innings,” Robichaux said. “His game management tonight was excellent. He had opportunities tonight where he could have collapsed, but he didn’t. It wasn’t about how hard he could throw, it was how well he managed the game and he did a great job of that tonight.”

Originally published May 20, 2006