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Baseball: Throwback Cajuns whip SLU 8-2

Cajun Chicken – and offense – lead UL to victory

Matt Hicks doesn’t have an explanation for his new-found power hitting, but he’s not complaining. He’s just happy to be playing.

Hicks, a sophomore who saw limited playing time for UL’s baseball team in his first season and a half, had his second career home run in as many games Monday in sparking the Ragin’ Cajuns to an 8-2 win over Southeastern La. on Turn Back the Clock Night at Moore Field.

The Houston product was appearing in only his 16th game and making his ninth start, but his three-run homer came in a five-run first inning and set the tone on a festive night that drew a season-high 2,819 fans (3,828 paid).

"I’ve always liked to think I have good power," Hicks said, "but I know I really don’t. I’m getting good pitches and just trying to make good contact."

Hicks had his first career homer Sunday at Troy in the finale of that Sun Belt series, and has gone 5-for-7 at the plate in the last two games with a double, two homers, six RBI and a .714 batting average.

"As the season goes along, guys like him move to the front of the bus," said Cajun coach Tony Robichaux. "It’s a long season, and he’s an example of the depth that you have to have if you’re going to have a good season."

The 25th-ranked Cajuns (29-9) also benefited from strong pitching performances from starter Brent Solich and reliever Matt Pilgreen on Tuesday. Solich (3-0) scattered nine hits while fanning six and allowing only one earned run in six and one-third innings, while Pilgreen gave up only one hit over the final two and two-thirds innings.

SLU (23-15) got one run in the fourth on Dillon Sudduth’s double, an error and a ground ball, and Chase Burch’s leadoff homer in the sixth was the only other tally.

"Brent made one mistake on an 0-2 pitch," Robichaux said of the homer, "but other than that he managed the game well. He kept their leadoff guys off base, and that’s the key to managing a game."

Scott Hawkins and Nolan Gisclair both had RBI singles in the first inning before Hicks launched a towering shot down the left-field line for the 5-0 lead. That chased Lion starter Chris Cappo (2-1), and the Cajuns added seven more hits off three SLU relievers over the next six innings.

Hicks added an RBI single in the third, scoring Jonathan Lucroy after he led off with a single, and back-to-back doubles by Lucroy and Hawkins added two more runs in the fourth.

Photos by Leslie Westbrook/lwestbrook@theadvertise

UL baseball players, wearing vintage-style uniforms for Turn Back the Clock Night, walk out to congratulate Scott Hawkins for his second-inning, three-run home run against Southeastern Tuesday night at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.

   Zoom Photo

UL’s Fabulous Cajun Chicken leads a cheer Tuesday.