LAFAYETTE – A Chase Compton squeeze bunt capped off a three-run rally in the eighth inning by the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team as Louisiana grabbed a 4-3 victory and series sweep of Sacred Heart here Sunday afternoon at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Trailing 3-1 entering the eighth inning the Cajuns (11-2) drew even in just three at bats. Seth Harrison led off with an infield single and scored on Tyler Girouard's triple down the right field line.
Nick Thurman lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to score Girouard with the equalizer and reached base after SHU left fielder Billy McDonough dropped the ball.
A trademark of Cajuns baseball in the Robichaux era, UL utilized the bunt to bring Thurman home with the winning run.
Jace Conrad was the first to bunt, advancing Thurman to third base. Compton then executed the squeeze on a 0-1 count with Thurman breaking for home.
Matt Hicks pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his fifth save of the season. Hicks has now made seven appearances this season and left with either a win or a save (2-0, 5 saves).
Prior to the eighth inning uprising, SHU pitchers Kody Kerski and Jeff Stoddard had limited the Cajuns to one run on five hits over the first seven innings. The Cajuns had been stuck on one run since the second inning.
Ryan Wilson, who relieved Austin Robichaux in the fifth inning, quieted the Pioneers (0-3) the next four innings. After collecting seven hits off of Robichaux, SHU was limited to just two by Wilson.
Wilson, who threw seven innings and held Nicholls State to one run on Wednesday, picked up his first Division I victory.
In addition to bringing home the wining tally, Compton registered his first multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate.
The Pioneers scored in the first inning after John Murphy singled with two outs, stole second and scored on an infield single by Dan Perez. Perez sent a slow roller up the first base line that Robichaux dove to field, but with no one covering first base an out was not possible and Murphy used heads-up base running to score.
The Cajuns drew even in the bottom of the second after Michael Strentz was hit by a pitch and advanced to third base on a throwing error by Perez attempting to pick Strentz off of first base. Conrad filed out to left field to plate Strentz and even the score at 1-1.
SHU reclaimed the advantage in the top of the third after a one-out single by McDonough and Murphy ground-rule double set the stage for a Perez RBI single.
The score remained 2-1 until a two-out rally by SHU off of Wilson in the sixth inning produced a run. Rocco Gondek doubled, Brian Lamboy walked and Kenny Byram singled to center field to score Gondek.
Kerski and Stoddard appeared to have the Cajuns' number. Blake Trahan singled to lead off the third inning, but after that the Cajuns were retired in order twice and limited to a single two-out hit twice.
Harrison's infield single to start the eighth, which extended his team-high hitting streak to eight games, jumpstarted the Cajuns rally that ended Stoddard's stranglehold.
The Ragin' Cajuns were scheduled to face New Orleans on Tuesday, March 5 at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field, but due to mid-semester exams at UNO the Privateers are unable to travel to Lafayette. A determination will be made on Monday as to whether the game is rescheduled for "The Tigue" or UL travels to New Orleans.
Louisiana's next weekend series will be the squad's first on the road in 2013 as the Cajuns travel to Hattiesburg, Miss., to meet Southern Miss at Pete Taylor Park Friday-Sunday, March 8-10.
BASES NOTED: For the first time this season, the Cajuns starting lineup featured both of the Conrad brothers…After a day off on Saturday Jace Conrad was back at second base and his brother Brenn Conrad started at designated hitter…Louisiana swept a weekend series for the second straight weekend and improved to 9-1 on the weekend…Now at 11 victories, the Cajuns are halfway to the number of total victories in 2012 (23) only 13 games into the season…With South Alabama's 3-2 loss to College of Charleston, the Ragin' Cajuns jumped ahead of the Jaguars (10-2) into first place in the Sun Belt standings…Jace Conrad extend his string of consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout to begin the 2013 season to 50…Matt Hicks posted his fifth save, marking a new single-season best for the righty from Bridge City, Texas…Hicks now has nine career saves (4 in 2012, 5 in 2013)…Cajuns pitchers combined to hold an opponent to three runs or less in four straight games and five of the last six dating back to the UTSA finale…After surrendering 11 runs to LSU on Tuesday, Cajuns pitchers combined to hold Nicholls and Sacred Heart to eight runs over 36 innings and a .233 average…Tyler Girouard's triple in the eighth inning marked his fourth extra base hit out of eight total hits…Girouard's slugging percentage is .783 (18 total bases, 23 at bats)…The Cajuns won on their final at bat for the third time this season (game 2 vs. CMU on Feb. 16 and Feb. 27 vs. Nicholls)...A day after hitting three home runs, Caleb Adams played left field and hit leadoff for the first time…Ryan Wilson's four innings of relief marked the longest outing by a Cajun from the bullpen since Kody Smith worked four innings in relief of Wilson in the Central Michigan finale (longest outing in relief is 4 1/3 by Cord Cockrell in season opener).