LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team extended its win streak to seven games as the Cajuns swept Little Rock, 9-4 and 7-4, in a doubleheader on Saturday at Gary Hogan Field.
The Sun Belt doubleheader sweep is the first for the Ragin’ Cajuns (25-14-1, 12-4-1 Sun Belt) since 2015 when Louisiana swept a doubleheader at ULM. The Cajuns are now unbeaten in 18 straight series and have snapped a streak of two straight series losses to the Trojans (14-26, 6-11 Sun Belt).
“Nick (Lee) grinded his way through this one today,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “Sometimes all it takes is just one more punch. You can’t lay down, and he kept swinging. Kennon (Fontenot) had a great day today. He was very physical at the plate. Overall, I thought our hitters did a good job of fighting back after a good performance in the first game. I give our guys credit to be able to go back to the hotel last night and have to wait till today and then come out on a miserable day and sweep a doubleheader. They keep grinding, and hopefully this is a sign that we are finally maturing as a ball club.”
Louisiana pounded out a combined 23 hits in the two games with Kennon Fontenot, Brad Antchak and Joe Robbins each picking up four hits on the day. Fontenot drove in a team-best four runs in the doubleheader with two home runs. Six Cajuns hitters drove in multiple runs in the pair of victories.
Senior Ishmael Edwards saw his hit streak come to an end at 14 games going hitless in the nightcap of the doubleheader after notching a 2-for-4 effort in the opening game of the series.
Junior left-hander Gunner Leger (8-1) picked up his eighth win of the season in the first game limiting the Trojans to three runs on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings of work. Little Rock starter Ryan LeMoine (1-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up eight runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings.
In the nightcap, sophomore Nick Lee (5-3) shook off a tough first inning to claim his fifth win of the year. Lee allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. The right-hander tossed five shutout frames after giving up four runs in the first inning.
Reliever Wyatt Marks earned his fifth save of the year in the second game of the doubleheader with three scoreless innings to close things out. Marks struck out four in the outing.
The Ragin’ Cajuns scored the most runs of the season on senior Cory Malcom (2-4) in the nightcap as he surrendered seven runs on eight hits with a career-high 13 strikeouts.
The Cajuns grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the first inning of game one on a two-out, two-run homer down the right field line by Steven Sensley.
Alex Pinero added to the lead in the top of the fourth sending a solo homer down the right field live to give Louisiana a 3-0 edge.
The Ragin’ Cajuns broke the game open in the top of the sixth plating five runs on three hits and three hit batters to extend to advantage to 8-0. A two-run double by Edwards and a two-run single by Antchak highlighted the scoring in the inning.
Little Rock got on the board in the bottom of the seventh scoring three runs on three hits and a walk to cut the lead to 8-3. The Cajuns and Trojans traded a run in the final two innings to make the final 9-3.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Little Rock exploded for four runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning to take its first lead of the series at 4-0. A two-out, two-run double by Zach Baker highlighted the scoring in the inning.
Louisiana started chipping away at the lead in the top of the second as Pinero drove in Sensley on an RBI groundout to shortstop to make the score 4-1.
In the next inning, Robbins singled home Antchak with two outs to cut the Little Rock advantage to 4-2. The Ragin’ Cajuns then pulled within a run in the top of the fourth on a leadoff solo blast to left centerfield by Fontenot.
Antchak evened the contest at 4-all in the top of the fifth plating Hunter Kasuls on a double down the right field line. Later in the inning, Fontenot notched his second home run of the game driving a three-run homer to left field to give the Cajuns a 7-4 lead.
Lee and Marks combined to allow just two runners to reach scoring position in the final four innings as Louisiana recorded eight straight scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Cajuns will look to sweep its second series in a row tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the series finale with the Trojans. Sophomore left-hander Hogan Harris (3-0, 2.58 ERA) will make the start for Louisiana, while Little Rock will go with freshman left-hander Chandler Fidel (2-5, 5.23 ERA).
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