Baseball: Cajuns turn key triple play in wild win over McNeese
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 11, 2018
Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.
An eventful midweek game with McNeese produced something UL hasn’t pulled in more than eight years.
The Ragin’ Cajuns turned a triple play in the top of the seventh inning Tuesday night, helping them to a 12-10 non-conference win over the Cowboys on M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
“We needed that,” said coach Tony Robichaux, whose Cajuns led 12-9 at the time. “That was the momentum-breaker right there. It turned the tide back to us, and that was huge.
“We call these ‘mid-weekers’ for a reason. You can see a lot of stuff in midweek games, believe me, and tonight there was a lot of stuff in this game right here.”
There was, but nothing was more amazing to see than the triple play.
McNeese catcher Brett Whelton lined out to Cajuns second baseman Hunter Kasuls, who knew what he had coming right away.
Kasuls instantly threw to shortstop Hayden Cantrelle, who was covering second and doubled up Joe Provenzano, and Cantrelle threw to Tyler Stover, who doubled up Dustin Duhon at first.
“That was the first one I’ve ever been a part of, which was pretty cool,” said Kasuls, a junior. “So, it was pretty neat to do that.”
The triple play, in fact, was UL’s first since it had one March 3, 2010, at Southeastern Louisiana.
“I knew when both guys took off, and it was right at me,” Kasuls said. “I was like, ‘We got ’em.’”
McNeese did add one run in the eighth, but true freshman Michael Leaumont — pitching in place of injured closer — took care of business in the ninth.
Leaumont struck out one batter, then allowed back-to-back singles to put runners on first and third, but finished things with two more strikeouts, both looking.
“That was big,” Kasuls said. “He stepped up, and it was really good.”
Stoelke left the bullpen with two outs and a man on second in the eighth, but he sustained a groin injury of uncertain extent on a warmup throw and exited to the dugout.
Leaumont took the mound instead and got a flyball out.
“We’ll have to let it play out and see,” Robichaux said of Stoelke’s injury. “But he’s been feeling good all season. He’s had no issues down there.”
UL scored three in the first as Daniel Lahare singled and later scored on a wild pitch, Kennon Fontenot singled in Gavin Bourgeois (who was hit by a pitch) and Cantrelle scored when Zach LaFleur reached on an error.
Fontenot finished 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and three RBI.
LaFleur’s two-RBI single made it 5-1 in the third, and before the inning was done Stover hit into a fielder’s choice that pushed Fontenot across and put the Cajuns up 6-1.
After McNeese picked up one in the top of the fourth, UL loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning and Fontenot singled in Lahare to put the Cajuns ahead 7-2.
But McNeese got to UL relievers Brock Batty and Brett Williams in the top of the fifth, scoring seven capped by Jake Cochran’s three-run homer to take a 9-7 lead.
But UL took a 12-9 lead with a five-run sixth, with Fontenot singling in Cantrellle, LaFleur singling in Kasuls, Fontenot scoring on an error, Todd Lott singling in LaFleur and Lott scoring on another error.
Junior lefty Hogan Harris — destined for a move back to UL’s weekend rotation — had a predetermined short start, going just 2.0 innings before Batty replaced him.
Harris faced just seven batters, striking out three and using 28 pitches while giving up only a harmless second-inning single.
Grant Cox (1-1) wound up with the winners.
BY THE NUMBERS
Fontenot extended his streak of reaching base to 13 games in a row, matching Cantrelle and Lahare for the most this season. … The seven innings UL allowed in the fifth was the second-most it has permitted in any single inning this season; the Cajuns also allowed eight in one inning of an 11-5 loss to South Alabama last month. … The Cajuns' nine stolen bases were their most this season, as were their 10 walks. Cantrelle had three of the steals. ... Announced sold attendance: 4,761.
For a second straight week, UL senior lefty Colten Schmidt on Tuesday was named Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week.
Schmidt, who pitched 8.0 shutout innings in Friday night’s 2-0 win over Texas-Arlington, also won Louisiana Sports Writers Association honors Monday.
In the final outing of a five-game home stand, UL faces Southeastern Louisiana at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
UL VS. SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA
RECORDS: UL 16-17, Southeastern Louisiana 24-12
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday
WHAT: Midweek non-conference college baseball game
WHERE: M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park
TV: Cox Sports Television (CST) with Lyn Rollins and Ronnie Rantz
STREAMING: ESPN3 outside the CST viewing area
RADIO: KPEL 1420 AM with Jay Walker and Brad Topham
UL PITCHER: Freshman LHP Austin Perrin (2-4, 4.78 ERA)