By: Matt Hebert
LAFAYETTE – The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team scored six runs in their first at bat to pull away from Florida Atlantic early in a 12-2 seven-inning run rule contest here Sunday afternoon at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
The first seven Cajuns reached base and FAU starting pitcher Brandon Rhodes failed to record an out during the first inning barrage.
Cody Boutte was never threatened as he faced only one over the minimum through four complete while his team built a 10-0 advantage.
The Cajuns (27-13, 10-8 Sun Belt) scored the 12 runs in only five at bats. It tied the most runs allowed by FAU pitching and marked only the second time an opponent reached double figure runs against the Owls (26-14, 11-7 Sun Belt).
Louisiana picked up the series victory for the sixth time in as many tries at "The Tigue" and eighth time in 10 weekends overall.
The Cajuns midweek game schedule next week includes a trip to McNeese State on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m., contest at Cowboy Diamond in Lake Charles and a home game with Southeastern Louisiana at 6 p.m., on Wednesday at "The Tigue".
The next Sun Belt series takes place Friday-Sunday, April 26-28 in Miami against FIU (22-17, 10-8 Sun Belt).
Seth Harrison delivered a grand slam to start the scoring in the six-run first inning and finished with a game-high four RBI. Dylan Butler also homered, a two-run shot in the fourth inning that increased his game RBI total to three.
Boutte didn't allow a base hit until the fifth inning and the Owls' runs total came on single runs in the fifth and seventh inning.
The Cajuns became the first team in the all-time series to score double digit runs. The win drew Louisiana into a 10-10 series tie with FAU and it came in the final regular season meeting as conference opponents (FAU leaves for Conference USA following 2013 season).
Dex Kjerstad drew a leadoff walk, then Jace Conrad and Ryan Leonards followed with bunt singles to load the bases in the first inning. On Rhodes' fourth pitch to Harrison he launched a home run over the left field fence for his second grand slam of the season which proved to be the big blow for the Cajuns.
The Owls didn't record an out until the Cajuns eighth batter of the first inning. No. 9 hitter Joe Robbins delivered a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to 6-0.
UL picked up two more runs in its second at bat as Harrison scored on a wild pitch and Nick Thurman posted an RBI single for an 8-0 lead.
Butler's home run in the fourth inning provided the first double digit advantage of the game. During all the Cajuns scoring the Owls were still in search of their first hit of the game as Boutte had only faced on batter over the minimum.
FAU broke the shutout with a run off two hits in the fifth inning, but the Cajuns regained the double digit lead for good in the bottom half on a two-run double by Caleb Adams.
BASES NOTED: Seth Harrison's grand slam in the first inning gave him a home run in each game of the series…Louisiana posted 12 hits, giving the squad double digit hits in 12 of the last 18 games and 23rd time overall…It was the Cajuns first run rule victory at "The Tigue" since an 11-0 win over ULM back on March 18, 2011…Coming into the series FAU had a team ERA of 3.17; the Cajuns scored 20 earned runs and the Owls' series ERA was 7.83…The six earned runs scored off of Brandon Rhodes marked the most he's allowed this season…Prior to today, Rhodes' most runs surrendered in six previous starts was three…Seth Harrison picked up his second grand slam (other slam came April 6 vs. Troy)…Jace Conrad made his first career start at first base…Michael Strentz did not play as he served his suspension for his ejection from Saturday's contest…The 5-4-3 double play turned in the fourth inning was the Cajuns' seventh of the series…Louisiana has now turned 18 double plays in the month of April (39 overall)…The two teams combined to turn 11 double plays in the series…Seth Harrison now has six home runs which puts him one off the team lead of seven by Caleb Adams and Tyler Girouard…Louisiana has hit 39 home runs through the season's first 40 games and is one homer shy of reach 40 home runs for the first time since 2010…The Cajuns pitching staff ERA of 2.88 in the series marked the staff's lowest weekend series ERA since a 2.00 ERA during the ULM series March 15-17…The total attendance for the series was 7,203 marking the highest attended series of 2013 (previous was 7,038 vs. ULM)…The season total attendance rose to 51,970 marking the fifth straight season above 50,000…Total attendance at "The Tigue" has now been above 50,000 in eight of the last nine seasons…Cody Boutte picked up his 22nd career victory as a collegiate pitcher and moved back into a tie with Austin Robichaux for the team lead in victories this season at six…Boutte picked up his second quality start of the season and first since holding ULM to two earned runs in 8 1/3 innings on March 17…UL outscored FAU by 11 runs (21-10) advancing the season run differential to +74 (274-200).