LAFAYETTE – The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team built a 10-0 lead after five innings on their way to capturing their sixth straight victory, an 11-6 triumph over Southern here Tuesday evening at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Dex Kjerstad led a group of five Cajuns with multiple hits turning in a 4-for-6 performance. Kjerstad, who homered and tripled, missed the cycle by a double.
Louisiana (17-3) plated seven runs off of Southern starting pitcher Camilo Godoy in 2 2/3 innings. The Jaguars (9-9) would not collect a hit until an infield single with one out in the fourth inning.
The Jaguars scored three runs during the scheduled innings by Cajuns relievers Ben Frith (sixth) and Matt Plitt (seventh) to trim the deficit to 10-6.
Ben Carter and Matt Hicks combined to retire the final six Jaguars hitters as Louisiana closed out the 72nd installment of the series with Southern.
The Ragin' Cajuns increased their home winning streak to eight games, improving to 15-2 at "The Tigue". Now the team embarks on a seven-game road trip that features weekend Sun Belt series at Middle Tennessee (March 22-24) and WKU (March 29-31) and a midweek trip to Southeastern Louisiana (March 26).
Chase Traffica pitched two scoreless and hitless frames to lead off a set rotation designed to give the Cajuns bullpen – which saw only one reliever used in the ULM series – beneficial innings of work. Traffica picked up the win, improving his record to 2-1.
Cord Cockrell, Kody Smith and Nick Zaunbrecher followed with shutout baseball over the next three innings as the Cajuns built their double digit advantage.
Kjerstad, Caleb Adams and Seth Harrison each posted two RBI to pace the Cajuns offense. Adams and Harrison picked up their RBI off of two-run home runs.
In the Cajuns first at bat, Kjerstad took the third offering from Godoy over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead. In the team's next at bat, Kjerstad tripled to score Sam Carriere and Adams followed with his fifth home run of the season which added two more runs and upped the advantage to 4-0 after two innings.
Louisiana used two-out damage in the third to essentially put the Jaguars in an insurmountable hole. Jace Conrad singled, stole second and advanced to third base on an error then scored when Nick Thurman singled. A dropped pop fly by SU second baseman Marcus Tomlin aided the Cajuns in adding two more runs for a 7-0 advantage.
Harrison's first home run in a Cajuns uniform continued the scoring in the fourth inning, increasing the lead to 9-0. A pinch hit RBI double by Dylan Butler made it 10-0 in the fifth inning.
The pair of three run innings by Southern came after Butler's double and trimmed the Cajuns lead to 10-6.
Carter and Hicks were able to retire the Jaguars in order in the eighth and ninth inning, respectively, preventing the visitors from making an improbable comeback.
BASES NOTED: Seth Harrison's home run extended his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest streak since Mike Petello produced a 14-game streak in 2011…Louisiana's three home runs increased the season total to 18, equaling the total from 2012…The Cajuns seven extra base hits tied the season-high (had seven doubles in season opener vs. Central Michigan)…Dex Kjerstad collected his second four-hit game of the season (4-of-5 in UTSA opener on Feb. 22)…Caleb Adams' two-run home run in the third inning marked his fourth multi-RBI game of the season tying him with Chase Compton and Michael Strentz for the team lead…Louisiana is now 8-0 vs. Southern at "The Tigue" in the Tony Robichaux era…The Cajuns have won nine of the last 10 meetings with the Jaguars.