Baseball: UL's Perrin, Burk strike out 13 in win over UTA
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 8, 2018
But more often than not Austin Perrin has been meeting high expectations for the UL baseball team, and that was the case again Saturday night.
Cajuns freshman fans career-high six in win over UTA
The true freshman threw the final 3.2 innings of UL’s 4-2 win over Texas-Arlington on M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park, helping the 15-16 Ragin’ Cajuns not only win their third in a row for the first time this season but also, including Friday's 2-0 win, clinch a weekend series victory for the first time in 2018.
He did so in relief of sophomore starter Jack Burk, who struck out a career-high seven in his 5.1 innings.
“He’s performing beyond a true freshman,” said UL coach Tony Robichaux, who suggested Perrin’s early season experience — along with that of the rest of the Cajuns — is starting to pay dividends now.
“Getting them roughed up helps you on the second half of the year, when they get put in situations like what they got put in today.
“Tonight,” Robichaux added, “he (Perrin) defined the moment instead of letting the moment define him.”
Perrin (now 2-4) made his Cajun debut with 3.0 scoreless innings in a season-opening series game at nationally ranked Texas, had two short scoreless outings at Tulane and Georgia Southern, and enjoyed 3.1 scoreless innings in a late-March win over nationally ranked LSU.
The lefty from Hahnville High has started four games this season, and — as expected — has come on in relief in seven others.
“I’m just a situational guy,” said Perrin, who throws in the low-to-mid-80s range. “(Whatever) we need that week, that’s what I’m willing to do.”
Robichaux likes the flexibility.
“He’s so good behind right-handers that pitch in good,” the Cajuns coach said, “because all night long they’ve been seeing the ball run in on them; now they’re seeing something soft running away from them, and that’s hard to adjust to.
“He’s got the ability to start. He’s got the composure to do anything you want him to do, because he’s never in a hurry, he’s never emotional … and he’s got the ability to throw a 3-2 changeup.”
UL took a 1-0 lead in the first as Hunter Kasuls drove in Hayden Cantrelle from second.
Burk retired the side in order in the first, then got out of the second and the third with double plays.
But the Mavericks did get to Burk in the third, as David Renning led off with a solo homer to tie the game at 1-1.
Burk got a strikeout to end to the top of the fourth, and UL made it 2-1 in the bottom of the inning as Tyler Stover drove in Kennon Fontenot from third.
UTA tied the game again in the sixth, though, with a one-out RBI single by Christian Hollie. The Mavericks loaded the bases one batter later, and Perrin relieved Burk.
Perrin got UL out of the half-inning at 2-2 with a strikeout followed by a groundout.
“It was a big situation,” Perrin said. “I just wanted to come in and get two outs, and that’s what I did.”
The Cajuns retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth, when Bourgeois scored from third as Kasuls was thrown out trying to steal second.
UL then got lucky and made it 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh: Kole McKinnon popped up a suicide sac bunt, but it dropped in front of UTA third baseman Easton Johnson, allowing Zach LaFleur to race in from third.
BY THE NUMBERS
Fontenot extended his streak of consecutive games with a hit to 11 with a single in the fourth. … With the win, UL’s RPI improved to 74 — up 35 spots on the week, which also included a split with nationally ranked Southern Miss. … Paid attendance was announced at 4,671.
Robichaux said after Saturday’s game that reliever Caleb Armstrong (elbow) is going to rehab for around a month.
“It’s something that’s mild,” he said. “They’re gonna try rehab first, then we’ll see where he’s at, and if he can’t go then he’ll do surgery.”
Armstrong already has had Tommy John surgery once previously.
Because of rain, Saturday night’s start time was delayed by 10 minutes to 6:15 p.m.
Temperature at the beginning of the game: 44 degrees, and it stayed that way much of the evening.
UL and UTA close their three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
UL (15-16, 5-6) vs. TEXAS-ARLINGTON (14-15, 6-5)
WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park
STREAMING: RaginCajuns.com with Dan McDonald
RADIO: KPEL 96.5 FM with Jay Walker and Brad Topham
PITCHING MATCHUP: UL RHP junior Nick Lee (1-3, 4.03 ERA) vs. UTA junior RHP Ka’ikepono Patterson (0-1, 6.21)