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Baseball: Moody, Robichaux Trump Hilltoppers, 9-8

Justin Robichaux snapped a 0-for-25 slump with a grand slam, while setting the single-season school saves record.
View larger Courtesy: RaginCajuns.com
Justin Robichaux snapped a 0-for-25 slump with a grand slam, while setting the single-season school saves record.

Justin Robichaux broke a 0-for-25 slump with a fourth-inning grand slam

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – It wasn’t easy, but Hunter Moody (Clinton, La.) and Justin Robichaux (Crowley, La.) each etched their names in the record book to lead the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to a 9-8 win over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Friday night at Nick Denes Field.  

Louisiana (25-25, 13-12 Sun Belt) moved into a fifth-place tie in the Sun Belt Conference standings following a loss by South Alabama (13-12) at FIU. Western Kentucky (25-23, 12-13 Sun Belt) dropped to seventh place. With the win, Louisiana’s magic number to clinch a spot in the Sun Belt Baseball Championship decreased to three.

Not to be overshadowed by the offense, Moody became the first Cajun and just the fourth Sun Belt pitcher to notch 30 career victories. Moody (8-2) lasted seven innings, allowing six runs – five earned – on 10 hits with five strikeouts. 

Robichaux earned a single-season record-setting ninth save as the sophomore gave up two runs on two hits in two innings. Robichaux also snapped a 0-for-25 slump at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with a game-changing grand slam in the fourth. Brian Bowman (Lafayette, La.), Josh Logan (Magee, Miss.), Tyler Benzel (Groveland, Fla.) and Blaine LaFleur (Opelousas, La.) also added two hits apiece.

Louisiana battered WKU starter Matt Hightower (3-5) fairly well, running the junior left-hander from the game after only 3 1/3 innings. Hightower was tagged for nine runs on 10 hits, while walking four with one strikeout. Four Toppers recorded at least two hits, while Scott Kaskie went 3-for-5 with a two-run home run. 

In the second, Louisiana had a prime opportunity to take the lead, but two early hits went for naught as WKU kept the Cajuns off the scoreboard. WKU didn’t balk at its second-inning opportunity, taking a 1-0 lead.

With one out, Jeremy Coleman roped a double off the wall in left-center. Two batters later, Drew Morgan put the Toppers on the board with a RBI single to left for a 1-0 lead. 

A five-run third inning resulted in a 5-1 Cajuns’ lead. LaFleur started the inning with a lead-off bunt single. LaFleur then moved into scoring position on a Bowman double to right-center. Matt Goulas (New Iberia, La.) drove in the tying run with a RBI groundout that scored LaFleur.

Back-to-back one-out walks by Scott Hawkins (Collierville, Tenn.) and Chance Harst (Lafayette, La.) loaded the bases. Then, the freshman Benzel promptly put the Cajuns ahead for the first time with a RBI single to left for a 2-1 lead. Matt Hicks (Houston, Texas) continued the onslaught, clearing the bases with a two-RBI single for a 4-1 cushion. An infield RBI single from Logan concluded the Cajuns’ five-run inning for a 5-1 lead. 

The Cajuns suffered a blow in the bottom of the third when Harst was on the losing end of a collision at first base. Wade Gaynor hit a chopper back towards the mound that Moody snagged, but misfired in his throw to first. Harst lunged for the ball, but Gaynor crashed into the sophomore and was eventually replaced by Robichaux. WKU eventually would cut into the lead later in the inning, but only managed one run as the score stood 5-2 in the visitors’ favor.

Harst’s loss came back to haunt the Toppers rather than the Cajuns in the fourth. For the second straight inning, LaFleur led off with a single. After a Bowman single to left, the Cajuns had runners in scoring position on Goulas’ sacrifice. Hawkins’ bases-loaded walk brought to the plate Robichaux, who had been on a 0-for-25 slump. 

Ahead 2-1 in the count, Robichaux launched an opposite-field grand slam that fell just inside the right field bullpen. Robichaux’s first hit since March 21 at UALR resulted in a 9-2 Cajuns lead. The game-changing grand slam would be the Cajuns’ last hit under Robichaux’s stand-up double in the ninth.

Moody surrendered a four-spot to the Toppers in the sixth as WKU cut the lead to 9-6. Two-run home runs by Kaskie and Chad Cregar were responsible for the damage that trimmed the deficit to three runs. 

Louisiana’s three-run lead dwindled to one in the ninth, 9-8, as the Toppers loaded the bases with two outs thanks in part to two costly fielding errors. However, Cregar grounded out to William Long (Valrico, Fla.) to end the game.

Louisiana will continue its pursuit of clinching a spot in the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship when the Ragin’ Cajuns battle Western Kentucky in game two on Saturday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. 

Louisiana-Lafayette 9, Western Kentucky 8 (May 09, 2008 at Bowling Green, Ky.)
Louisiana-Lafayette. 005 400 000  –  9 11  5      (25-25, 13-12 SUN BELT)

Western Kentucky…. 011 004 002  –  8 12  0      (25-23, 12-13 SUN BELT)
Pitchers: Louisiana-Lafayette – Moody, Hunter; Robichaux, Justin(8). Western Kentucky – Hightower, Matt; Balcom, Adam(4); Beach, Colby(7); Paxton, Ben(8).
Win-Moody, Hunter(8-2)  Save-Robichaux, Justin(9)  Loss-Hightower, Matt(3-5)  T-3:12  A-584
HR UL – Robichaux, Justin (1).
HR WKU – Kaskie, Scott (6); Cregar, Chad (19).


Take Care,

Chris Yandle
Assistant Sports Information Director
Volleyball/Men’s Basketball/Baseball Contact
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns
Office: (337) 482-6330 | Cell: (337) 298-2099 | Fax: (337) 482-6529
yandle@louisiana.edu | www.RaginCajuns.com