Cajuns take see-saw affair over Texas State in series opener

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LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team bested Texas State 8-7 on Friday night in a back-and-forth affair at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park to open the final home series of the year.

The win is the third straight for the Cajuns and improves the club to 31-19-1 overall and 15-9-1 in the Sun Belt Conference, while Texas State drops to 24-26 on the season and 10-15 in league play.

“This was a battle between two good teams,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “They can swing the bat, and we are very fortunate to come away with this one. Steven (Sensley) really swung the bat well tonight. Gunner (Leger) wasn’t Gunner, but that just goes to show you how good he has been throughout his career. We were fortunate that we were able to overcome two momentum changes in the game. They are a good team, and they’re not going to go away. We are going to have to play well to win this series.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns won their third game of the year in which they were outhit by the opponent as the Bobcats had a 9-8 edge in hits. Zach LaFleur, Steven Sensley and Joe Robbins each had a pair of hits in the game for Louisiana.

Sensley extended his on base streak to 20 games in the contest as he reached in four of his five plate appearances driving in two runs while scoring two more. Robbins had a career night as he became the 17th player in program history to post two doubles in a game. The senior drove in three runs on the night and also drew two walks.

Starter Gunner Leger went five innings giving up a season-high five runs on seven hits with four walks and two strikeouts in a no decision.

Junior Dylan Moore (2-1) picked up his second win of the season in relief tossing 1.2 perfect innings with two strikeouts to close out the contest, while Connor Reich (2-5) was tagged with the loss for Texas State after giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks.

Both teams threated in the first inning loading the bases with one out, but neither club would scratch across a run in the frame.

In the top of the second, Dylan Paul doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning and then moved to third base on a sac bunt by Flipe Rodriguez. In the next at bat, Jacob Almendarez brought home Paul on a suicide squeeze bunt to put the Bobcats up 1-0.

The Ragin’ Cajuns answered in the bottom half of the second when Brad Antchak scored on a wild pitch by starter Wes Engle with the bases loaded to tie the game at 1-all. Later in the inning, Brenn Conrad drew a bases-loaded walk from reliever Brandon Lewis to put the Cajuns up 2-1. In the next at bat, Sensley drove a single through the left side of the infield to plate Handsome Monica and extend the lead to 3-1.

Texas State cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth on a two-out RBI single to left field by Derek Scheible, but Robbins answered in the bottom half of the frame with a two-out, two-run triple to right center to give Louisiana a 5-2 advantage.

The Bobcats tied the game for the second time on the evening in the top of the fifth on a three-run homer to left by Luke Sherley to make the score 5-all.

Robbins put the Cajuns back in front 6-5 in the top of the sixth on a two-out RBI triple to left center.

Texas State wouldn’t go away quietly though regaining the lead for the first time since the second inning on a pair of solo home runs by Rodriguez and Scheible to take a 7-6 edge in the top of the eight.

The lead would be short lived though as the Cajuns rallied in the bottom half of the eighth on an RBI double to right center by Sensley to score pinch-runner Hunter Kasuls from first base to even the contest at 7-all. With the bases loaded and one out, Sensley came home to score on a throwing error by second baseman Jonathan Ortega who was trying to turn a double play at first base on a line out by Antchak.

Moore tossed a perfect ninth inning striking out Ryan Newman to end the game and keep the win streak alive.

Louisiana and Texas State return to action tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at Russo Park as the Ragin’ Cajuns look to take the series. The Cajuns will honor the nine seniors on the squad before the contest as it will be Senior Day. Junior left-hander Colten Schmidt (1-1, 3.21 ERA) will make the start for Louisiana in the game.

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Jeff Schneider

Sports Information Assistant, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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