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Baseball: UL baseball – 17 innings, five hours, and one run short of 1,000

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, February 25, 2015



UL’s Blake Trahan slides safely into second as the throw hops by McNeese shortstop Kris Molter in an NCAA baseball game Tuesday at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field. (Photo: Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser)


PHOTO GALLERY: UL vs. McNeese Baseball 2/24


He was going for his 1,000th career win

After a string of uncharacteristic defensive blunders early and some miscues on the bases caught up with UL late, Ragin’ Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux remains stuck on 999.

Robichaux was denied by the only other school he’s coached, McNeese State, which beat UL 5-4 in a 17-inning thriller in front of an announced 2,213 on a chilly Tuesday night at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.

Connor Lloyd’s RBI single through the left scored Connor Crane with the winning run in the top of the 17th, and Tyler Day and Austin Briggs combined for the game’s final three outs as the Cowboys improved to 5-4 and the Cajuns fell to 4-4.

"All the freshmen threw well, (starter) Gunner (Leger) threw well," said Robichaux, who gets another shot at 1,000th when UL visits Alabama this weekend. "But we made too many mistakes along the way — offensively, defensively — and, you know, it cost us."

The game, which featured 543 pitches, took five hours and 16 minutes to complete.

McNeese State had a chance to win it earlier after picking up a run in the 10th inning, but UL tied it when catcher Nick Thurman tripled and came across on a controversial balk call.

McNeese State had the bases loaded in the 15th, but Reagan Bazar induced a groundout to end the threat.

The Cowboys, though, capitalized in the 17th, getting three hits including Lloyd’s single off of Logan Stoelke (0-1).

Joe Robbins then struck out looking. Thurman did the same and Brian Mills flied out to end in the bottom of the inning.

"Every arm that came in did a great job of giving us an opportunity to win," Robichaux said, "but you’ve got to be able to man up at the plate and get it done."

Billy Sommers tripled off of Leger in the top of the first.

It looked like the Cajuns were going to get out of the inning when Lewis Guilbeau swung at a two-out third strike, but Thurman dropped the pitch and was charged with an error on his throw to first, allowing Sommers to score.

UL took a 2-1 advantage in the second after Kyle Clement walked and scored on an E4 following Dylan Butler’s infield single, then Greg Davis ripped an RBI-double to left-center.

McNeese State took the lead back in the fourth, though, following a series of Cajun miscues.

The Cowboys first were able to load the bases, thanks in part to an error on second baseman Brenn Conrad and some miscommunication on a bunt that cost UL an out.

Matt Gallier then singled to left, scoring one run and another Butler misplayed the ball. Butler did redeem himself, though, with a catch that UL out of the half-inning with no additional damage.

The Cajuns tied it at 3-3 in the bottom of the fifth, when Butler doubled, reached third on a pickoff-attempt error and came across on Blake Trahan’s sacrifice RBI.

Wyatt Marks relieved Leger after four innings, retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth, then struck out the side — two looking, one swinging — in the sixth.

Marks, a true freshman from St. Thomas More High, threw 13 pitches in the sixth and nine of them were for strikes.

UL had a chance to break things open in the sixth, but with the bases loaded and one out Kyle Clement struck out on a swinging on a changeup and Butler grounded out to third.

Marks exited after 2.2 innings of work — with no hits allowed, just one walk and five strikeouts — and Colton Lee picked up where he left off, getting the last out of the top of the seventh on one try before striking out the side swinging in the eighth.

The Cajun again had an opportunity make something happen in the eighth, but this time both Clement and Butler struck out with the bases loaded.

"We made (Leger) in one inning throw 33 pitches to get out of that inning," Robichaux said. "We can’t do it. We said it all year — that when these freshmen start to grow up a little bit, we need to make sure we don’t make old-player mistakes."