Louisiana Breaks Losing Streak In 11-8 Win Over Northwestern St.
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team recorded a season high in hits, steals, and runs in an 11-8 victory on the road against the Northwestern State Demons.
With the win, Louisiana improved to 4-4 this season. The offense put plenty of pressure on Northwestern State's pitching staff by getting on base and being aggressive, but the Cajuns pitchers had issues at times throwing strikes. Head coach Matt Deggs talked about what it means to win games when not everything goes your way.
"We were able to get going with our legs," Deggs said. "A lot of people would say that it's an ugly win with a lot of walks, but this is a real good toughness win for us coming off the stretch we've been on. When you can learn to win gritty, that's a tool for you. We bent, but we didn't break and some guys stepped up when they had to."
Deggs also said that he was proud of his team for picking up the victory on the road.
"We're better than we're playing," Deggs said. "If you look at three of the last four games, we are right there to win all of them. This is a tough place to win, I know how hard it is to win here. So I was real proud of our team coming back and finding a way to win. And we get to do it again tomorrow night."
Will Veillon opened the top of the first with a leadoff triple for the Cajuns. Following a RBI-groundout by Kyle DeBarge, Carson Roccaforte hit a one-out single. From there, he stole second and third base, allowing a Connor Kimple bunt to bring him home. Louisiana took a 2-0 lead early on.
Austin Perrin was the starting pitcher for Louisiana, but he struggled in the first inning. Two leadoff walks and a single loaded the bases without any outs, and a grand slam instantly gave the Demons their first lead at 4-2. Perrin battled back to record the three outs and strand a runner at third, but Northwestern State scored four runs on only two hits.
After Louisiana's offense went down in order, Drew Shifflet was the first pitcher out of the bullpen, and he had a very solid performance for the Cajuns. Shifflet hit a batter and gave up a walk with two outs, but he was able to strand both of them with the third out.
The Cajuns had a very productive third inning. CJ Willis walked and Veillon was hit by a pitch. The two base runners executed a double-steal, and a DeBarge sac-fly brought in a run. Roccaforte hit a RBI-single to tie it, and he stole his third bag of the night to get into scoring position.
Kimple scored Roccaforte on a single to give Louisiana the lead back, and Julian Brock hit a single to get him to third base. Heath Hood got a pinch hit RBI-single for the fourth base hit of the inning to make it 6-4. An effective four-run inning brought momentum back into Louisiana's dugout.
After Shifflet threw a clean third inning to keep the momentum with Louisiana, the Cajuns got a two-out rally in the fourth. Warnner Rincones walked to start the inning, and a balk with two outs brought him into scoring position. DeBarge scored him on a RBI-single and advanced to third base on a throwing error. Roccaforte got his third hit of the game with a RBI-single to bring DeBarge home, and the Cajuns were up 8-4. However, their offense went quiet for three innings following Roccaforte's hit.
Shifflet gave up a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth, but he bounced back with a pair of strikeouts and a groundout to strand the runner in scoring position. Brandon Talley relieved him in the fifth inning after Louisiana's offense went down in order with three groundouts in the top half of the frame. Shifflet's night finished at three scoreless innings pitched with five strikeouts and a win.
Talley worked around a pair of two-out base runners to throw a scoreless frame with three strikeouts.
Talley came back out, and threw another scoreless inning. Louisiana's offense went down in order for the third consecutive inning, and Bo Bonds entered in the bottom of the seventh to replace Talley after his two quality innings of work. Bonds struck out three batters in the inning, but a balk with runners at the corners scored a run for the Demons. Bonds' third strikeout stranded two more base runners.
Louisiana instantly got that run back in the top of the eighth. Kimple became the first Cajun to reach base since the fourth inning via a leadoff walk, and he stole second base. He was caught in between second and third, but a throwing error allowed him to come around and score to make it 9-5. Once again, Louisiana did a good job of causing stress on the base paths.
That run was big because the Demons got another rally in the bottom of the eighth. Bonds gave up a leadoff single, and, after a strikeout, a walk put two on. Jacob Schultz came into the game for the Cajuns, and a three-run homerun cut Louisiana's lead to 9-8. Northwestern State got two more runners on in the inning, but Schultz was able to get a groundout, and the teams went into the final frame of regulation.
Louisiana's offense answered the rally with two insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Veillon and DeBarge each singled, and a throwing error scored the first run. A sacrifice fly-out by Roccaforte scored the other run, and the Cajuns needed three outs to secure an 11-8 victory.
Schultz got two easy groundouts, but he gave up a single and hit a batter to bring the tying run to the plate. However, he came back with a strikeout to give the Cajuns the win. It was the 15th strikeout of the night for Louisiana's pitching staff.
Up next, these two teams will play again on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. That game will be back in Lafayette at Russo Park where the Cajuns are 3-1 this season.