ARLINGTON, Texas – The 20th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team dropped a 5-4 decision in the series opener at UT Arlington on Friday night at Clay Gould Ballpark to snap the squad’s nine-game win streak.
The Cajuns (27-15-1, 13-5-1 Sun Belt) and Mavericks (24-17, 14-5 Sun Belt) will take Saturday off due to impending weather and resume the series on Sunday with an 11 a.m. doubleheader. Both games can be heard live on News Talk 96.5 KPEL-FM with Jay Walker and Jeff Schneider on the call.
“If you are going to play in a close game like this, you have to make better base running reads and we needed to make the catch in left field when the game was tied,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “Now we have to sweep a doubleheader in order to win this series. You can’t win game three until you win game two. We are going to have to come out with good pitching and defense and get timely hitting.”
Sophomore Nick Lee (5-4) took the loss for the Ragin’ Cajuns after giving up four runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings of work. Junior Colten Schmidt was good in relief holding the Mavs to one run on three hits in 4.1 innings.
Kadon Simmons (7-2) earned his seventh victory of the season despite giving up three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. Daniel James added to his conference lead in saves with his 11th of the year retiring three of the four batters he faced in the ninth.
UTA had a slight 10-9 edge in hits on the night with Zac Cook posting a game-high three hits with an RBI and a run scored. Joe Robbins, Steven Sensley and Brenn Conrad each had two hits in the contest for the Cajuns.
Louisiana jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Robbins brought home Ishmael Edwards on a sacrifice fly to left field. In the next at bat, Sensley crushed his eighth home run of the year over the fence in right for a solo homer to extend the Ragin’ Cajuns advantage to 2-0.
The lead would be short-lived though as UT Arlington plated two runs in the bottom of the second inning as Noah Vaughan scored on a Lee wild pitch and then Cook evened the contest with a two-out RBI single through the left side of the infield.
The Cajuns regained the lead in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout to second base by Kennon Fontenot to make the score 3-2. In the next at bat, Sensley was thrown out at the plate on a ball hit to first base by Conrad.
The Mavericks answered with two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead, 4-3. Brady Cox singled home the first run of the inning with two outs to knot the contest at 3-all. In the next at bat, Omar Salinas lifted a ball down the left field line that landed just in front of an outstretched Fontenot for an RBI double to give UTA the lead.
Vaughan looked like he had extended the Mavs advantage to 6-3 in the bottom of the fifth driving a ball over the fence in right field, but Vaughan passed up Quitin Rohrbaugh on the base path to end up with an RBI single to give UT Arlington a 5-3 lead.
The Cajuns best scoring chance came in the top of the seventh putting runners on second and third with one out, but reliever Austin Gardner struck out Handsome Monica and Hunter Kasuls to preserve the two-run lead.
Conrad pulled Louisiana within a run in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo homer to right off of James, but the right-hander got Alex Pinero to ground out to shortstop to end the contest.
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