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Baseball: Solich Returns to Form in 8-1 Win

  LAFAYETTEIn 2007, senior Brent Solich (Lakewood Ranch, Fla.) became one of the most dominating left-handers in the Sun Belt Conference with an 11-strikeout outing against South Alabama. Friday, Solich put Louisiana in the driver’s seat for a tournament championship as the Ragin’ Cajuns blasted the South Alabama Jaguars 8-1 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Sixth-seeded Louisiana (30-27) advances to the bracket final Saturday at 9 a.m. against the winner of the New Orleans-South Alabama elimination game Friday night.
Solich’s (3-5) tournament domination of the South Alabama Jaguars (32-25) continued Friday as the senior struck out a career-high 12 batters in the complete-game four-hitter. The Cajuns have had two straight complete-game performances – the first time since May 18-19, 2006 (Hunter Moody, Buddy Glass vs. Western Kentucky). Solich has held the Jaguars to one run on seven hits in 18 tournament innings.
Scott Hawkins (Collierville, Tenn.) was 3-for-5 with a RBI and is 7-for-10 with four RBI in his last two games – the best two-game performance of the season. Matt Goulas (New Iberia, La.) went 3-for-4, while Jordan Poirrier (Reserve, La.) recorded a career-high three hits. Chance Harst (Lafayette, La.) added a grand slam, while Josh Logan (Magee, Miss.) had a pair of RBI singles.
South Alabama’s Lance Baxter fell to 4-5 after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.
South Alabama jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, taking advantage of muddy playing conditions in the outfield. After two quick outs, David Doss drew a walk for the Jaguars’ first base-runner. On the ensuing at bat, Jernigan drilled a would-be single into the right-center gap, but right fielder Nolan Gisclair (Marrero, La.) lost the ball in the lights.
Jernigan’s hit turned into a RBI triple that scored Doss for a 1-0 South Alabama lead.
Louisiana had an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the first with two runners on base, but a double play ended the threat and kept USA on top, 1-0.
The Cajuns wouldn’t squander a second opportunity in the second as the host went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the second. Gisclair opened with a lead-off walk and later moved to third on William Long’s (Valrico, Fla.) infield single. Poirrier followed with RBI single through the right side to score the tying run.
Logan’s RBI single to left put the sixth-seeded Cajuns ahead for the first time, 2-1. Louisiana threatened to pad its lead in the third, but the Cajuns left two runners stranded.
The flood gates opened in the fifth with a six-run scoring barrage by the Cajuns. Once the dust settled, the Cajuns’ stranglehold over the Jaguars increased to seven, 8-1. With out one, Hawkins continued his impressive tournament output with a RBI double for a 3-1 lead. After loading the bases with one out, Harst crushed the Cajuns’ third grand slam in the last 14 days for a commanding 7-1 lead. A second RBI single from Logan put the Cajuns ahead by seven, 8-1.
South Alabama averted further damage and the potential for a run-rule defeat as the Cajuns left the bases loaded to end the sixth inning.
However, that would be all the support Solich needed down the stretch. The senior southpaw held the Jaguars scoreless during the final eight innings, but received a scare in the eighth. Solich took a comebacker off the left side of his chest, but remained in the game and would later strike out the side in the ninth for the win.
Louisiana-Lafayette 8, South Alabama 1 (May 23, 2008 at Lafayette, La.)
South Alabama……. 100 000 000  –  1  4  0      (32-25)
Louisiana-Lafayette. 020 060 00X  –  8 14  2      (30-27)
Pitchers: South Alabama – Baxter, Lance; Logan, Michael(5); Johnson, Travis(6).
Louisiana-Lafayette – Solich, Brent.
Win-Solich, Brent(3-5)  Loss-Baxter, Lance(4-5)  T-2:46  A-1285
HR UL – Harst, Chance (9).
Game notes:
Game 7 was originally scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m., but was postponed

until Friday at 10 a.m. (inclement weather