LAFAYETTE, LA — Seniors Matt Hicks and Ben Carter combined to throw a two-hit shutout on Tuesday night as the second-ranked Ragin' Cajuns baseball team defeated McNeese State 8-0 in front of a crowd of 4,033 at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
"For Matt to go five innings on about a 50-pitch limit was huge," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "Him going five in the middle of the week really helped us rest some guys in our bullpen. Matt set such a good tempo by working fast and throwing strikes. You love to play defense behind a guy like that. Ben picked up where Matt left off. That's the Ben Carter that we like to see. He had a good tight slider. It's just a matter of him locating the fastball. Mike (Strentz) did another good job of calling shutout tonight."
The shutout is Louisiana's (37-5, 16-2 Sun Belt) ninth of the season and the second in a Hicks start. The Cajuns improve their midweek record to 10-1 and are now 13-1 against in-state opponents. Louisiana is also 18-0 when scoring in the first inning.
Hicks held the Cowboys (20-19, 10-8 Southland) to two hits going a career-high five innings while posting a career-best five strikeouts to move to 5-0 on the year.
Carter faced one over the minimum in four innings striking out three to earn his first save of the season and third of his career. Both Hicks and Carter did not walk a batter on the evening.
Offensively, the Ragin' Cajuns tallied double-digit hits for the 29th time this season with eight different batters posting a hit in the game.
Tyler Girouard and Jace Conrad each went 2-for-4 at the plate. Conrad had a game-high two RBI and extended his on base streak to a team-best 32 games.
Louisiana got on the board in the first inning on a sac fly to center by Seth Harrison scoring Blake Trahan from third. Trahan walked to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a Ryan Leonards ground out and a wild pitch.
The Cajuns added three more runs in the bottom of the third to extend the lead to 4-0. After a Harrison walk and a Girouard single, Caleb Adams drove a double off of the wall in left to score Harrison from second. Girouard came into score on a wild pitch to make the score 3-0. Dylan Butler drove in the third run of the inning on an infield single to third.
After two scoreless innings, Trahan drove in his only run of the game on a sacrifice fly to right increasing the Louisiana advantage to 5-0.
Conrad tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh bringing home Harrison on a bases-loaded groundout to first.
An inning later, pinch-hitter Nick Thurman drove a single through the left side of the infield to score Trahan from third. In the next at-bat, Adams was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Conrad brought home the final run of the game on another RBI groundout to first.
Trahan's single to lead off the eighth increased his hit streak to 13 games as he has now reached in 18 straight games along with Butler.
The Ragin' Cajuns continue their four-game homestand this week as they host Texas State in a three-game series at "the Tigue" starting on Friday at 6 p.m. First pitch Saturday will be at 6 p.m., while Sunday's game is scheduled for 1 p.m.