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Baseball: UL’s Hatfield the real McCoy at Florida International

Junior ties, breaks records in 19-5 victory

Florida International’s pitching staff threw a lot of fast balls to UL hitters Saturday, and that’s what Kolin Hatfield was hoping for.

"They were throwing fast balls early in the count," Hatfield said, "and our hitters were jumping on them early."

Hatfield did much of that jumping on a record-setting day at FIU’s University Park in Miami, and his teammates followed his lead on the way to a 19-5 thumping of the Golden Panthers in the middle game of their Sun Belt Conference series.

Hatfield, a junior from Cypress, Texas, and a transfer from Sam Houston State, laced three home runs after entering the game with only one homer all season. He also had five hits and nine runs batted in, tying school records in all three categories as part of a 22-hit Cajun attack.

Hatfield also took over one record category by himself with 15 total bases, adding a double and a single to his three homers.

"It was just a matter of seeing it, getting a good pitch to hit and hitting it," Hatfield said.

Hatfield had solo homers in the first and fifth innings and a two-run shot in the seventh, adding a third-inning sacrifice fly when UL took the lead for good as well as a two-run single in the sixth and a two-run double in the eighth.

"Our biggest goal today was to attack their pitchers," said Cajun coach Tony Robichaux. "Our hitters came back out and continued to break their will. They’re doing their job and making them use a lot of arms."

The Cajuns (23-5, 9-2 Sun Belt) followed up on a 10-3 Friday night win in their league series opener, and will go for a sweep in today’s noon game. Freshman righthander Justin Robichaux (3-0, 0.87) is scheduled to start for UL against FIU senior righthander Walker Whitley (1-3, 7.90).

UL’s 22 hits was the most since a 23-hit performance in a 16-3 win over Middle Tennessee in 2005. The 19 runs was the most since beating New Mexico State 21-8 on May 6, 2005. UL’s seven-run seventh inning was its biggest inning of the season.

"Everybody went out with a good plan," said catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who had a pair of home runs and five RBI. "We got a lot of two-out hits, and we were putting good swings on the ball and hitting it hard."

FIU starter Corey Polizzano was the victim of part of that onslaught, giving up nine hits and seen earned runs before leaving during UL’s three-run fifth inning. Four other pitchers had similar struggles for the Panthers (15-15, 2-6).

Cajun starter Hunter Moody (4-2), meanwhile, was the happy beneficiary of the offensive blitz. Moody scattered six hits and allowed two earned runs while fanning four, and only one of FIU’s four runs in the fifth inning was earned.

Nolan Gisclair and William Long each added four hits in the attack, with Gisclair leading off the third inning with a single and scoring on Scott Hawkins’ single to give UL the lead for good at 2-1.

The Cajuns added three more runs in the fifth on Lucroy’s two-run homer and Hatfield’s solo shot before FIU scored four runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth to cut the margin to 7-5. Moments later in the top of the sixth, Hatfield laced a two-run single to build a four-run advantage before the seven-run, six-hit seventh inning that put UL within one win of a road sweep.

"When we play the South Florida teams and get up on them, they tend to go quietly," Lucroy said.

"They’re a very different team when they’re behind than when they’re playing ahead," Tony Robichaux said. "It’s important for us to get off to a good start again today."

Record day for Ragin’ Cajun baseball’s Hatfield

 

Junior outfielder Kolin Hatfield set one UL record and tied three others during the Cajuns’ 19-5 victory at Florida International on Saturday.

His record output:

Individual Single-Game

 

  • Most home runs: 3 (tied record held by six players, most recently Corey Coles on April 26, 2003, at New Orleans)

     

  • Most hits: 5 (tied record held by 17 players, most recently Jonathan Lucroy on March 11 vs. South Alabama)

     

  • Most runs batted in: 9 (ties record set by Mark Trosclair on March 5, 1972, vs. Southern)

     

  • Most total bases: 15 (breaks record of 14 set by Chase Lambin on May 11, 2002, at South Alabama)