LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team dropped a close 6-5 decision to Georgia Southern on Saturday night at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park to even the series.
The loss drops the Cajuns to 28-18-1 on the season and 14-8-1 in Sun Belt play, while the Eagles improve to 31-16 overall and 14-9 in the league.
“We had opportunities tonight and couldn’t cash them in, and then our pitching staff let a couple innings get away from us,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “They got critical hits at critical times in the game. We struck out 13 times. That’s not putting the ball in play enough. When you do that, you have to offset it with pitching and we didn’t do that.”
Junior Colten Schmidt (1-1) was handed his first loss of the season after giving up four runs on six hits in five innings with a walk and three strikeouts.
Chase Cohen (4-3) earned the victory for Georgia Southern despite giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits in 5.2 innings of work. Cohen walked five in the outing and struck out 10.
The Eagles outhit the Ragin’ Cajuns 10-7 in the contest led by designated hitter Tyler Martin who went 2-for-5 with two RBI.
Senior Brenn Conrad paced the Louisiana offense with a 3-for-4 effort driving in one run and scoring once.
Georgia Southern grabbed the lead in the top of the third on an RBI single to centerfield by Steven Curry to make the score 1-0. In the next at bat, Ryan Cleveland drove a two-run homer off of Schmidt over the fence in right to extend the Eagles lead to 3-0.
The Ragin’ Cajuns answered with three runs in the bottom half of the third on an opposite field, three-run blast to left by Steven Sensley to knot the game at 3-all. The home run is the ninth of the year for Sensley to lead the team.
The Eagles regained the lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single through the left side of the infield by C.J. Brazil to go in front 4-3. After Georgia Southern loaded the bases with two outs, Martin drove a single back up the middle to plate two more runs and give the Eagles a 6-3 edge.
Louisiana cut into the lead in the bottom half of the sixth on an RBI single through the right side of the infield by Conrad to make the score 6-4. Later in the inning, Zach LaFleur came home to score on a throwing error by Jacob Condra-Bogan to pull the Cajuns within a run at 6-5.
In the bottom of the seventh, senior Brad Antchak walked, stole second and then moved to third on a Todd Lott ground out to shortstop to put the tying run 90 feet away with two outs. Reliever Connor Simmons ended the threat though getting Hunter Kasuls to go down swinging to end the inning.
The Ragin’ Cajuns threatened again in the bottom of the ninth as Antchak walked and stole second for the second time on the night with two outs. Georgia Southern closer Landon Hughes got pinch hitter Josh Aguilar to ground out to second base to end the contest and pick up his seventh save of the year.
The Cajuns and Eagles face off in the rubber match tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Russo Park. Sophomore left-hander Hogan Harris (3-1, 2.63 ERA) with face off against freshman right-hander Seth Shuman (4-0, 3.49 ERA).
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