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Baseball: Louisiana Opens Sun Belt Tournament Play Against Appalachian State
CONWAY, S.C. – Winners of seven of its final nine regular-season games, Louisiana Baseball rides a wave of momentum into the First Round of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament where it will face Appalachian State at Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina. First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m. (CST).
The Ragin' Cajuns (27-29, 15-15) played host to the Mountaineers earlier in the season, dropping two of three games by a score of 6-5. Louisiana's lone win of the weekend came on Saturday, a 7-4 decision.
Louisiana has been on an absolute tear with its bats as of late, hitting at a .366 clip over the final three series. In that stretch, the team drove in 85 runs and recorded 37 extra-base hits. Most recently, the Ragin' Cajuns took two of three games from ULM. In that series, the team posted 48 hits and 35 runs, both season highs.
Senior Hunter Kasuls had a stellar weekend in Monroe, producing 10 hits and homering in all three games. In the series finale, he became the first player in program history to record six hits in a single game and finished with five RBI and three runs scored. For his efforts, he was named the Sun Belt Player of the Week.
Throughout the year, newly appointed Sun Belt All-Conference performers Hayden Cantrelle, Todd Lott and Orynn Veillonhave paced the Ragin' Cajuns' offense. Cantrelle enters the tournament leading the team with 27 stolen bases and 52 runs scored while hitting at a .304 (68-for-224).
Lott is tops on the team with a .340 average and 44 RBI. During conference play, the Jacksonville, Fla., native has led the team in hits (45), RBI (36) and home runs (7) while hitting at a .385 clip. Veillon's hitting streak currently resides at 19 games, the longest active streak on the team this season, while he is hitting .303 (60-for-198) on the season and .360 in league play. The senior is second on the team with 11 homers and has produced a team-high four three baggers.
With the quick turnaround from the weekend series with ULM and a long week looming, the starting pitcher for Louisiana is currently listed as TBA.
Appalachian State (22-30, 13-16) returns to Conway having played there just this past weekend, dropping two of three games to Coastal Carolina. The Mountaineers' lone win of the weekend came on Friday, an 18-6 rout of the Chanticleers.
Freshman newcomer Luke Drumheller has paced the Mountaineer offense all season as he leads the team in hits (66) and RBI (66). Tyler Leek is second on the team with a .325 averager (40-for-123) and has 23 RBI to his names.
Right-hander Jason Cornatzer (2-1, 5.05 ERA) will get the start for Appalachian State on Tuesday evening, his fourth start of the year.
Despite dropping two games in March, Louisiana leads the all-time series over Appalachian State, 9-6, with the Ragin' Cajuns emerging victorious in seven of the last 10 meetings. Tuesday's contest will be the first time the two programs will meet at a neutral site.
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