LAFAYETTE – Riding hot bats and stellar outings by both its starters and its bullpen, the Louisiana Baseball team put together two complete performances to claim victories of 14-5 and 6-1 in Saturday’s doubleheader to clinch the weekend series over Arkansas State.
Louisiana (17-17, 6-6) was firing on all cylinders throughout Saturday’s doubleheader, outscoring Arkansas State, 20-6, and outhitting the Red Wolves, 21-12. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ pitching staff was also on fire, fanning 22 batters across the two games.
Senior Handsome Monica was one of three Ragin’ Cajuns to record four hits on Saturday, including two home runs in Game One, and scored a team-high six runs along with three RBI. O’Neal Lochridge broke out of his slump with four hits, three of which came in the first contest, while Hayden Cantrelle also tacked on four hits, including his eighth home run of the year. Tremaine Spears finished the game with two hits and recorded a team-best four RBI.
The Ragin’ Cajuns saw two quality starts on Saturday, the first coming from Austin Perrin, who pitched 7.0 innings of three-hit, no-run baseball with six strikeouts. That start was followed up by Brandon Young, who fanned 13 batters, the most since Austin Robichaux struck out 14 batters at Little Rock on April 12, 2013, and allowed just one run on four hits in 7.0 innings of action. Both Perrin and Young took the wins.
Louisiana could not have asked for a better start to the doubleheader, scoring multiple runs in five of the eight innings in which it posted at bats to aid in the nine-run victory.
Things got going in the third when Lott scored Cantrelle via a sacrifice fly and Monica blasted his first of two homers on the day to take its first lead at 2-0. That margin doubled in the next inning with a Lochridge single and a Cantrelle groundout to put the Ragin’ Cajuns in a comfortable spot.
Louisiana then put its power on display over the fifth and sixth innings, scoring six runs via a home run and double from Spears and homers off the bats of Monica and Cantrelle to take a commanding 10-0 advantage.
Arkansas State struck back in the top of the eighth when Sky-Lar Culver hit a grand slam to cut the lead to 10-4, but those four runs were quickly matched in the bottom of the eighth with the help of a Brennan Breaux single and some defensive mishaps by the Red Wolves.
One more Arkansas State run came across the plate in the ninth, but Connor Cooke got the last batter to fly out to seal a 14-5 win in Game One.
After three scoreless innings from both teams, it was Arkansas State (20-13, 8-4) that struck first on a ground-rule double to left in the fourth. That run was countered in the bottom of the inning when Daniel Lahare, making his first start since March 22, reached on an infield single that scored Lochridge.
The dagger came in the fifth inning when back-to-back singles from Todd Lott and Monica started off what finished as a four-run inning to put the home team ahead, 5-1.
An insurance run in the sixth, backed by Young’s stellar start and a solid 1.0 inning apiece for Caleb Armstrong and Gunner Leger secured a 6-1 win and a series victory for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Louisiana continues its eight-game homestand with two midweek games, welcoming Louisiana Tech to Russo Park on Tuesday and McNeese State on Wednesday. First pitch for both games is slated for 6:30 p.m.
FOLLOW THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Follow the Ragin’ Cajuns on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@RaginCajunsBSB) to stay up-to-date with Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball) or by checking RaginCajuns.com.