LAFAYETTE, La. – The 16th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team used a two-run fifth inning to defeat Southern Miss on Saturday afternoon and capture its first home series of the season at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The win is the third straight for the Ragin’ Cajuns who are now 6-3 on the year and have won two straight weekend series. For the second straight contest there were over 5,000 fans in attendance at Russo Park with a crowd of 5,020 on hand for Saturday’s contest.
“We answered last night when they scored, and today we were able to get one after their big inning,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “You don’t want someone to stick you with zero after they scored on you. I thought Nick (Lee) did a good job of settling in after the first inning. The big thing you want to do when someone jumps you like that is to get the pitcher out of the past and get him on the present and start hanging zeros so that when you do score its relevant.”
Lee (3-0) earned his third win of the season bouncing back from a tough first inning to hold Southern Miss to four runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings of work.
Junior Dylan Moore tied the Sun Belt Conference career saves record in the game after striking out the side in the ninth inning. Moore now has four saves on the season and 31 in his career moving him into a tie with FAU’s Hugh Adams who set the record from 2009-13 with the Owls.
Senior Jevin Huval was also impressive out of the bullpen tossing three scoreless innings with five strikeouts and no walks.
USM starter Kirk McCarty (2-1) suffered his first defeat of the year as he was tagged for five runs on ten hits in four innings.
Louisiana outhit Southern Miss 10-8 in the contest as the squad has now posted double-digit hits in four of the last five games.
Centerfielder Ishmael Edwards led the Cajuns offense going 2-for-3 and three runs scored, while freshman designated hitter Todd Lott was 2-for-4 with a game-high two RBI. Right fielder Steven Sensley also had a pair of hits in the game and drove in a run.
Southern Miss got out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI groundout by left fielder Hunter Slater and a two-run homer to left field by shortstop Tracy Hadley.
The Ragin’ Cajuns trimmed the USM advantage to 3-1 in the bottom half of the first on a two-out RBI single to left center by first baseman Alex Pinero that plated Edwards from second base. The single for Pinero extended his hit streak to eight games.
In the bottom of the third, Louisiana pulled even at 3-all on a Lott RBI single to left center before Edwards scored on a McCarty wild pitch.
The Golden Eagles threatened in the top of the fifth loading the bases with one out, but Lee got Slater to hit into a ground ball double play to second baseman Brenn Conrad to end the threat.
The Ragin’ Cajuns carried that momentum over into the bottom half of the fifth to go in front 4-3 on an RBI double to gap in right center by Lott. In the next at bat, Sensley brought home Lott on a single to left centerfield to increase the edge to 5-3.
Southern Miss scratched one more run across in the top of the sixth on an RBI double by designated hitter Daniel Keating, but the Cajuns pitching staff held the Golden Eagles in check not allowing a runner to reach second base in the final three frames.
The Cajuns go for the sweep tomorrow with first pitch at 1 p.m. Junior right-hander Evan Guillory (0-1, 13.50) will matchup against freshman right-hander Cody Carroll (0-0, 8.59 ERA).
Following the series finale with the Golden Eagles, Louisiana heads back out on the road to face Tulane at Turchin Stadium on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
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