RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech third baseman Chase Lunceford came up with the game-winning walk-off double in the bottom of the 13th inning as the 14th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team fell to the Bulldogs 6-5 in extra innings on Wednesday night at J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park.
“I’m very proud of Jack Burk tonight, he gave us a chance to win tonight,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “He could have let a good hitting team like them jump him early and knock him out, but he punched back and fought hard. This was a very winnable ballgame for us. We need to do a better job of driving in a run late in the game. We let them hang around for too long and you can’t do that with a good team like Louisiana Tech.”
Burk allowed two runs on six hits tossing five innings in a no decision. The freshman right-hander didn’t allow a free pass and struck out four in his second start of the year. Reliever Evan Guillory was handed his second loss of the year despite giving up just one run on three hits in 3.2 innings of work.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (9-4) stranded 14 runners in the game as the Bulldogs (15-2) had a 15-13 edge in hits. La Tech had three different players post three hits in the game led by designated hitter Raphael Gladu who went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
Centerfielder Ishmael Edwards had a team-best three hits for the Cajuns, while senior first baseman Alex Pinero extended his hit streak to 12 games with a two-hit night.
“We left too many runners on base tonight,” Robichaux said. “We had chances to win this game all up and down, but we just didn’t get the job done. We put ourselves in position to win the game. Now we have to learn how to win games like this.”
Zack Hamilton claimed the victory for Louisiana Tech tallying 2.2 scoreless innings of relief to close out the contest. Hamilton gave up just one hit and struck out two with a walk.
The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single to center field by catcher Brent Diaz. After La Tech loaded the bases with no outs, Burk settled down and got a strikeout and started a ground ball double play to end the threat.
The Ragin’ Cajuns exploded for five runs on five hits and two walks in the top of the sixth to go in front 5-2. With two outs and the bases loaded, catcher Handsome Monica brought home the Cajuns first run on a single to the left side of the infield. In the next at bat, shortstop Hunter Kasuls drew a four-pitch walk to even the contest at 2-all.
Senior second baseman Brenn Conrad put Louisiana in front 4-2 on a two-run single through the right side of the infield. Edwards singled home the final run of the inning sending a 1-2 pitch through the right side of the infield to score Kasuls.
Louisiana Tech got a run back in the bottom half of the sixth when Lunceford scored on a wild pitch by Cajuns reliever Jevin Huval. The Bulldogs then pulled within a run at 5-4 in the seventh inning on an RBI groundout by Diaz.
Gladu knotted the game at 5-all in the bottom of the ninth driving a leadoff solo home run over the fence in right centerfield to send the game into extras.
The Cajuns threatened in both the 10th and 11th innings loading the bases twice, but both times La Tech would come up with an answer to keep the game tied at 5.
In the bottom of the 13th inning, shortstop Dalton Skelton was hit by a Guillory pitch to leadoff the inning. After moving to second on a sac bunt by second baseman Jordan Washam, Skelton came home to score the winning run on a double hit off of the wall in centerfield by Lunceford with two outs.
The loss drops the Cajuns to 1-2 in extra-inning games this season and snaps a three-game win streak.
The Ragin’ Cajuns return to action this weekend as they host Appalachian State in the Sun Belt Conference opener Friday at 6 p.m. at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park. The two teams will also meet on Saturday at 2 p.m. before closing out the weekend with an 11 a.m. contest on Sunday.
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