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Baseball: Where did the Cajuns find those big bats against Troy?

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 21, 2015



The UL Ragin’ Cajuns line the dugout fence during the team’s Thursday game against Troy.(Photo: Submitted photo)



The UL baseball team already was down after what happened Wednesday. Before the end of one inning the next day, it looked like the Ragin’ Cajuns were on the way out too.

But they instead stayed alive in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, overcoming an unsettling start to their elimination game Thursday one day after dealing with a disastrous finish to their tourney opener.

After falling behind by four runs and having starting pitcher Wyatt Marks chased in the first inning, the third-seeded Cajuns rallied to beat the second-seeded host Trojans 12-8 behind the relief pitching of Greg Milhorn and Will Bacon and some awfully big bats.

The Cajuns fell to the loser’s bracket after committing two critical errors and giving up four runs in the ninth inning of an 8-7 loss to Texas State.

"The way we lost (Wednesday), it left a bad taste in our mouth, and they (the Trojans) jumped us," UL coach Tony Robichaux said. "We couldn’t stop them."

Until, that is, Milhorn settled things down.

Because he did, UL — which pounded out 13 hits — advances to face seventh-seeded Texas-Arlington at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

UT Arlington lost a winners’ bracket game to Texas State 10-2 on Thursday night.

The Cajuns swept UTA in a three-game Sun Belt weekend home series in late April, winning 5-0, 3-2 and 4-1.

"We tried to slow (Troy) down all we could, but they came out swinging," Robichaux said. "And then we were able to get to the pen, get to Greg (Milhorn).

"You bring in a pitcher to change the momentum of a game, and without Greg’s outing I don’t think we could come back. He came in, changed the momentum. Then the hitters fed off of him, and we got going."

Did they ever.

UL Coach Tony Robichaux calls a meeting on the mound

UL Coach Tony Robichaux calls a meeting on the mound during the Cajuns Thursday game against Troy. (Photo: Submitted photo)

Kyle Clement, who committed one of those costly errors, was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Stefan Trosclair, who committed the other, was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and four RBI including a three-run homer.

Blake Trahan had two hits and scored twice, Brenn Conrad was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI, Tyler Girouard had two hits and two RBI and Greg Davis had a two-run homer.

"Like Coach said, ‘You’ve just got to switch the tempo and respond,’ " Milhorn said. "The hitters did a good job coming back and battling at the plate."

"We just kept coming. We believed. It’s not easy," Trosclair added with reference to doing so despite what happened earlier, "but it’s what you’ve got to do if you want to be in the last game of the tournament."

UL (35-21) struck first Thursday, as Conrad scored on a double steal.

But Troy answered in the bottom of the first with a three-run homer from Logan Hill, who took Marks deep after he gave up a lead-off single and walked the next batter he faced.

Three batters later Nick Masonia followed with a two-run homer to put the Trojans up 5-1, and after allowing one more single that was it for Marks.

Greg Milhorn pitched nearly five innings of relief

Greg Milhorn pitched nearly five innings of relief during Game Six of the Sun Belt Conference. (Photo: Submitted photo)

He was replaced by Milhorn, a weekend starter before sustaining a month-long groin injury.

Milhorn (3-1) went 4.2 innings, allowed just one hit and struck out six by locating his fastball well, then throwing a slider and changeup to keep the Trojans off the fastball.

He struck out the only two hitters he faced during an opening inning in which Troy batted around.

"We knew we had a lot of game left," Trosclair said. "It was the first inning. … We didn’t press the panic button or anything. We just sat back, relaxed and kept playing."

UL got itself back into the game in the second, when Evan Powell walked and Davis homered to left-center to make it 5-3 Troy.

Conrad, who later left with cramps, then doubled to the centerfield warning track to score Trahan from first. Clement then walked and Trosclair – UL’s home run leader – sent a fastball to left for three-run homer that put the Cajuns ahead 7-5.

UL tacked on three more runs in the fourth with back-to-back RBI doubles by Clement and Trosclair and Girouard’s RBI single.

The Cajuns took a 12-5 lead in the sixth as Conrad scored from second on Clement’s hit-and-run single and Girouard doubled in Trosclair.

Troy picked up one in the bottom of the sixth, but Colton Lee – pitching in relief of Milhorn – got out of a bases-loaded jam by fielding a comebacker for a 1-3 third out.

Lee was lifted for Reagan Bazar after giving up a solo homer to Matt Sanders that made it 12-7 with no outs in the eighth, and before getting out of the inning Bazar yielded an RBI double that pulled Troy to within four runs.

UL reliever Will Bacon played a big role in the Cajuns’

UL reliever Will Bacon played a big role in the Cajuns’ win over Troy on Thursday. (Photo: Courtesy of Sun Belt Conference)

Bacon got UL out of the inning with one pitch, and in the ninth struck out the first two batters he faced, gave up a double and struck out Cameron Sanders looking to end it with his second save of the season.