HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Led by a four-hit day from Tyler Girouard and a trio of pitchers who scattered six hits the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team posted a 9-1 victory over Southern Miss here Sunday afternoon at Pete Taylor Park.
The win gave Louisiana (13-3) the series victory over Southern Miss (7-8). The Ragin' Cajuns are 4-for-4 in weekend series this season.
The Cajuns broke a scoreless tie in the third inning on a Girouard single and subsequent USM fielding error that resulted in three runs. After the Golden Eagles picked up a run in the fifth inning, the Cajuns responded in the next at bat executing three straight bunts to extend the lead to 5-1.
Ryan Wilson and Matt Hicks held USM in their tracks with four combined innings of scoreless relief in support of Austin Robichaux who tossed five innings of three-hit baseball.
Louisiana added four runs off four hits in the ninth inning to produce the final margin.
In capturing the series victory over USM – the program's first since the yearly meetings became an annual occurrence in 2007, and first overall since 2000 – the Cajuns outscored the Golden Eagles 22-5 after dropping the opener on Friday.
Louisiana now turns its attention to the 2013 Sun Belt Conference opening series with ULM scheduled for Friday-Sunday, March 15-17 at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field. For the second straight week, UL has no midweek games as the squad prepares for the SBC opener.
Girouard finished 4-for-5 with a team-high three RBI. Included in his four-hit day were a pair of doubles.
Nick Thurman and Jace Conard also had multi-hit games, both finishing 2-for-5.
The contest opened as a pitcher's duel between Robichaux and USM's Conor Fisk as neither team scored and only one hit was recorded over the first two innings.
Robichaux retired the Golden Eagles in order both frames. Fisk stranded two Cajuns runners after a walk issued to Blake Trahan placed runners on first and second in the opening at bat.
In only one at bat in the third inning, the Cajuns were able to scratch for three runs and break the scoreless draw.
With Trahan and Ryan Leonards aboard at first and second base, respectively, Girouard sent a single up the middle into center field. Leonards scored from second base then after the ball rolled under the glove of USM center fielder Dillon Day, Trahan and Girouard were able to score for a 3-0 advantage.
Louisiana threatened to generate a sizeable advantage in the top of the fifth inning after Trahan walked and Girouard doubled to begin the inning. USM reliever Jay Myrick kept the Golden Eagles in the contest as he notched three strikeouts, two coming after an intentional walk to Chase Compton loaded the bases.
USM got a double from Tim Lynch and single from Blake Brown to open the bottom of the fifth. That set up a sacrifice fly by Mason Robbins that plated the Golden Eagles' lone run.
The ground gained by USM was short-lived as the Cajuns execution of three straight bunts after Conrad led off with a single and Kjerstad was hit by a pitch resulted in two runs to up the lead to 5-1.
Wilson and Hicks combined for four innings of scoreless relief to preserve the momentum shift and ultimately the victory for the Cajuns.
BASES NOTED: Sunday's game marked the end of the final non-conference weekend series of 2013…Beginning next week with ULM at "The Tigue", the Cajuns have 10 straight weekends of Sun Belt Conference action…Louisiana upped its all-time series lead over USM to 21-19…Louisiana improved to 11-2 in weekend series…For the first time since 2005, the Ragin' Cajuns completed each of the first four weekends of the season with a winning mark…The four hits by Tyler Girouard marked a new career high, besting his previous mark of three hits against Southern Miss (March 9) and ULM (March 18) in 2012…Girouard is the fifth different Cajun to amass a four-hit game this season, joining Seth Harrison, Dex Kjerstad, Michael Strentz and Blake Trahan…Girouard has 13 hits, of which six have gone for extra bases (2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs) and he tops the squad with a .758 slugging percentage…Over the final two days of the series, the Cajuns bullpen held USM to a single run over 9 1/3 innings pitched…In four of his last five career starts, sophomore pitcher Austin Robichaux has held the opposition to four hits or less…Despite striking out for the first time all season, ending a string of 54 straight plate appearances without a strikeout, Jace Conrad posted his third multi-hit game of the season.
Louisiana 9, Southern Miss 1 (Mar 10, 2013 at Hattiesburg, Miss.)
Louisiana........... 003 002 004 - 9 12 2 (13-3)
Southern Miss....... 000 010 000 - 1 6 2 (7-8)
Pitchers: Louisiana - Robichaux, Austin; Wilson, Ryan (6); Hicks, Matt (8). Southern Miss - Fisk, Conor; Myrick, Jay (4); Livingston, Cody (6); Roney, Bradley (8); Giannini, Cameron (9); King, Paxton (9); Scarborough, Boomer (9)
Win-Robichaux, Austin (2-0) Loss-Fisk, Conor (0-1) T-2:47 A-3003
Weather: 75, mstly cldy, S @ 24-32 MPH
Robichaux, A faced 1 batter in the 6th
King faced 2 batters in the 9th
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