LAFAYETTE, La. – Appalachian State slugged four home runs on Saturday as the 14th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team fell to the Mountaineers 12-4 to even the series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
“Nick (Lee) didn’t have his best stuff today, and they came up with a couple critical hits that put us in a hole early,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “We didn’t do a good job of much today besides defensively we played good with no errors. We need come out tomorrow ready to win the series. We have a chance to win another series, and you want to be able to win every series. We will have to pitch better than we did today if we want to win this one.”
Lee allowed a career-high five runs on four hits and three walks in 4.1 innings of work to fall to 4-1 on the year. The right-hander struck out two in the outing.
App State starter Colin Schmid (3-2) earned the victory giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts in seven innings. Reliever Reed Howell notched his third save of the year with two scoreless innings to close out the game.
The Mountaineers (9-10, 1-1 SBC) outhit the Cajuns (10-6, 1-1 SBC) 11-8 en route to scoring a season high 12 runs. Second baseman Matt Vernon paced the App State offense with a game-high three hits, three runs, a home run and an RBI.
Right fielder Steven Sensley and catcher Handsome Monica each had two hits for Louisiana, while second baseman Brenn Conrad drove in a team-best two runs.
Centerfielder Ishmael Edwards sparked the offense for the Cajuns in the first inning for the second straight game. After tripling off of the wall in centerfield, Edwards came home to score on a ball hit to shortstop by Conrad to give Louisiana a 1-0 edge.
The lead would be short lived though as App State plated four runs on three hits in the top of the second to go in front 4-1. The Mountaineers got all four runs with two outs on back-to-back two-run singles by Drake Zupcic and Calev Grubbs.
The Ragin’ Cajuns cut into the Appalachian State lead in the bottom of the second on a two-out RBI single to left centerfield by Monica to make the score 4-2.
Second baseman Matt Vernon added a run for App State in third inning with a leadoff solo home run over the fence in left field, but the Cajuns would again answer scoring a run on an RBI groundout to shortstop by left fielder Kennon Fontenot in the fourth.
After trading runs in the seventh inning, Appalachian State increased its lead to three runs in the eighth on a two-out RBI single to right field by Brian Bauk.
The Mountaineers put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth tacking on five runs on a three-run homer by Jason Curtis and a two-run blast by Conner Leonard to make the final 12-4.
Louisiana and App State close out the series at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Russo Park. The Ragin’ Cajuns will start sophomore left-hander Hogan Harris (1-0, 0.00 ERA), while the Mountaineers will counter with junior right-hander Luke Watts (1-1, 2.96 ERA).
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