Cajuns move one step closer to Omaha with 9-5 win over Rebels
Despite falling behind early, the top-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns baseball team stormed back to defeat sixth-ranked Ole Miss 9-5 in the opening game of the Lafayette Super Regional Saturday night in front of 4,278 at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
The win moves the Cajuns (58-8) one win away from clinching the best-of-three series with the Rebels (44-19) to advance to the College World series for the first time since 2000. Louisiana-Lafayette also is two wins away from tying the 2002 Florida State squad for the most wins in a season since the NCAA went to a 56-game season in 1992.
"We knew tonight was going to be tough," ULL head coach Tony Robichaux said in a news release. "We were playing a very good team that's well coached. I've got so much respect for Mike (Bianco) and the job that he does; you can tell that they're a good-looking team one through nine. So we knew we were going to have to try and hold them down.
"We played good defense, and we got timely hitting. We got a big lick by Tyler (Girouard) that got us going and a great catch by Caleb (Adams). We just played good baseball. We knew we had to do it to try to be able to beat these guys, but Tyler's home run won't do us any good tomorrow so we've got to move on."
Louisiana-Lafayette outhit the Rebels 11-10, led by Tyler Girouard, who was 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBIs and scored three runs. Chase Compton and Seth Harrison also had two hits.
Junior Austin Robichaux became the fourth Ragin' Cajuns pitcher to record eight wins this season. Robichaux was touched for five runs on seven hits in seven innings with four strikeouts.
"We wanted to stay away from the three-run inning," Robichaux added. "Austin tried to get into his groove in the second inning and couldn't find it but then got going after that and got his changeup working really well from the third inning on."
Mississippi starter Chris Ellis was tabbed with only his second loss of the season to fall to 10-2 after allowing five runs (four earned) on one hit with three walks and hit a batter in 2.1 innings.
The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning, scoring three runs on three hits and two walks. Sikes Orvis led off the inning with a double and then scored on a single through the left side by Preston Overbey. In the next at bat, Errol Robinson deposited an RBI single into right field. After Braxton Lee walked to load the bases, Auston Bousfield drove a sac fly into center to plate the final run of the inning.
In the bottom half of the second, Bousfield gave the Cajuns a run back as he dropped a fly ball hit to center by Harrison, allowing Girouard to score from second to cut the Ole Miss advantage to 3-1.
The Ragin' Cajuns exploded for five runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter to take a 6-3 advantage in the bottom of the third. Following a walk to Jace Conrad to load the bases with no outs, Blake Trahan brought home Michael Strentz on a ground out to first. In the next at bat, Girouard drove a 3-1 pitch over the fence down the right field line for a three-run homer to put the Cajuns in front 5-3. Harrison scored the final run of the inning for Louisiana-Lafayette on a balk by Ole Miss reliever Jeremy Massie.
Braxton Lee cut the Cajuns' lead to 6-4 on a two-out RBI triple to the left-center field gap, scoring Robinson from first.
Louisiana-Lafayette added three runs in the bottom of the fifth to extend its edge to 9-4. Girouard scored the first run of the inning on a wild pitch. Harrison made the score 8-4 on a RBI ground out to short, while Dylan Butler launched his sixth home run of the season over the fence in left with two outs.
Will Allen notched an RBI single in the top of the seventh to left to pull the Rebels within four runs.
Senior Matt Plitt came on in the eighth and threw two scoreless innings to close out the contest. The two scoreless innings gives Plitt 17 consecutive scoreless as he hasn't allowed a run since a May 4 appearance against Arkansas State.
The Cajuns and Rebels face off again today at 8 p.m. at "the Tigue" in an elimination game for Ole Miss. Junior Carson Baranik (11-1, 3.27 ERA) will make the start for Louisiana-Lafayette, while left-hander Christian Trent (9-0, 2.37 ERA) will take the mound for the Rebels.