Cajuns blanks Arkansas State in series opener

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LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team got another stellar performance on the mound from left-hander Gunner Leger Thursday night as the Cajuns shutout Arkansas State 8-0 in the series opener at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

The win improves the Ragin’ Cajuns to 19-14-1 on the season and 8-4-1 in the Sun Belt. Louisiana now has seven shutouts on the year, which ties for the national lead with Auburn, Oregon State and Clemson. Four have come at home, while three have been in league play.

“Gunner is always there for you whether you play good or bad,” head coach Tony Robichaux. He can take control of the ball game. You look up and he was in a lot of trouble throughout the ballgame, but he was just meticulous in not giving in and letting the game get away from him. As a coach, I’d hate to play against him.”

Leger (7-1) has now combined to toss five shutouts this season going seven scoreless scattering five hits with no walks and six strikeouts. The junior has allowed just two runs in 34.2 innings at home this season and has lowered his ERA to 0.95 for the season in the victory.

Junior reliever Wyatt Marks notched his fourth save of the season in the contest tossing two perfect frames with four strikeouts. Marks leads the Cajuns with 60 strikeouts in 38.1 innings.

Red Wolves starter Bradey Welsh (1-1) suffered his first loss of the season allowing seven runs on 10 hits in 7.2 innings pitched.

The Ragin’ Cajuns outhit A-State (19-15, 7-6 Sun Belt) 12-5 in the game with third baseman Joe Robbins tying a season-best with three hits. Right fielder Ishmael Edwards and shortstop Brad Antchak each had two hits including a double and two RBI on the night.

Louisiana jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After a pair of singles by Antchak and Robbins, designated hitter Steven Sensley brought home Antchak on a ball hit to shortstop. In the next at bat, left fielder Kennon Fontenot drove a single back up the middle to plate Robbins from second base and give the Cajuns a two-run edge.

Robbins added to the advantage in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to centerfield scoring Zach LaFleur to make the score 3-0.

The Cajuns put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth scoring five runs on four hits and two free passes to make the final 8-0. A two-run single by Edwards and a two-run double by Antchak highlighted the scoring in the inning.

Louisiana will look to clinch the series tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Russo Park. The Ragin’ Cajuns will start right-hander Nick Lee (4-3, 5.54 ERA), while Arkansas State will send right-hander Peyton Culbertson (3-3, 6.39 ERA) out to the bump.

For the latest updates on Cajuns baseball, follow Ragin’ Cajuns baseball on Facebook (RaginCajunsBaseball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsBSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsBSB) or check RaginCajuns.com.

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Jeff Schneider

Sports Information Assistant, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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