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Baseball: Cajuns Swept in Monday Double Header Against South Alabama

Charlie Long, ESPN 1420/KPEL Radio, April 19 2021

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns lost both games of their doubleheader against South Alabama on Monday.

Louisiana is now 20-15 on the season and 7-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. They have lost four straight games after their eight-game winning streak came to an end last Sunday. It is only the second time they have been swept in a weekend series this season. They are now 6-9 on the road.

The Cajuns pitching staff was good in every game this weekend, but Louisiana’s offense never got hot in Mobile and defensive errors hurt them in game three.

Game two of the series opened with a Cajuns score in the first inning just like the first game. This time, they got two runs on three hits to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.

Once again, it was the only time Louisiana scored in the nine inning game. Their offense was completely stifled and unable to rally for another run.

South Alabama cut the lead in half with a RBI-single in the third inning and tied it in the sixth inning.

In the seventh inning, the Jaguars recorded three consecutive two-out hits to plate the run that gave them their first lead. The Cajuns got a two-out runner in scoring position in the top of the ninth but failed to get the hit to tie it up. They lost the first game of the doubleheader 3-2.

Starting pitcher Connor Cooke had a stellar day for Louisiana, tossing six innings and allowing only two runs on three hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

Associate head coach Anthony Babineaux praised his team’s pitching in the first game and said that the issues in the loss came at the plate.

"Our pitching was good," Babineaux said. "We gave up three runs on seven hits. You can’t ask for much more than that. We’ve just got to compete harder at the plate."

Louisiana’s offense struck out 13 times in game one while walking only once. They had seven hits in the game but were only able to score the two runs they recorded in the first inning.

In game three, the Cajuns were only focused on avoiding the conference series sweep. They had similar issues on offense, but poor defense helped bury them in the final game of the series.

The Cajuns scored in the first inning for the third straight game. Two walks and a throwing error gave Louisiana a 1-0 lead.

South Alabama took advantage of a throwing error in the second inning to get the leadoff runner on base. A single put two on without any outs, and starting pitcher Hayden Durke answered with two big outs.

However, a throwing error that would have gotten the third out scored the tying run. A two-out double in the next at-bat scored two more unearned runs and a wild pitch gave South Alabama a 4-1 lead. Two hits and two errors in the second inning gave the Jaguars a huge lead.

Durke left the game in the fourth inning with an injury, but Babineaux said that the early signs are not serious.

"He just felt a little bit of discomfort, so we took him out," Babineaux said. "I don’t expect it to be anything serious."

Just like the other two games in the series, the Cajuns went on a scoreless drought after taking the lead in the opening frame. The Jaguars took advantage, stretching their lead in the fourth, fifth, and seventh innings to make it 8-1.

Seven of the eight runs were unearned, and Louisiana committed four errors in the field in the series finale. The offense drew walks in game three but went 3-18 with runners on base. Julian Brock hit a RBI-single in the eighth inning to break the Cajuns’ scoreless stretch, but, it was the only run they scored outside of the first frame in the entire series, and they lost 8-2.

The offense had a rough weekend and Babineaux acknowledged that, but he also said that they are looking forward to moving on from the series in Mobile.

"It came down to not making enough plays and not being competitive enough at the plate," Babineaux said. "When you’re in situations like this, getting back out there as soon as you can is a good thing."

Up next, the Cajuns come home to host McNeese on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. They then travel to play Little Rock in a three-game conference series starting on Friday.