LAFAYETTE – The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team unleashed five extra base hits in the sixth inning and plated six runs to break open a one-run game and post an 8-1 victory over Arkansas State here Sunday afternoon at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
With the win Louisiana (34-15, 15-9 Sun Belt) completed a three-game sweep of Arkansas State (24-24, 10-14 Sun Belt). It was the Cajuns fourth series sweep of the season and first since Sun Belt opening weekend against ULM.
Caleb Adams homered twice as part of a 3-for-4 performance and drove home three runs. Seth Harrison also had three hits and added two RBI.
Adams broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth with a solo home run. His second homer of the day was a two-run job in the sixth that stretched the lead out to 5-1.
Ben Carter, making his first start in a Cajuns uniform, tossed five innings and held ASU to just three hits while allowing no earned runs. Carter averaged 11 pitches per inning and faced the minimum each of his final four innings on the mound.
Ryan Wilson and Matt Hicks combined for four innings of scoreless relief to wrap up Carter's first Division I victory. Wilson notched a strikeout with runners on second and third base in the sixth inning to preserve a 2-1 Cajuns lead.
The victory combined with South Alabama's loss to Middle Tennessee pulled the Ragin' Cajuns within two games of the Jaguars (36-13, 17-7 Sun Belt) for first place in the Sun Belt standings. UL and USA meet at "The Tigue" next weekend with first place on the line Friday-Sunday, May 10-12.
Louisiana reached at least 13 base hits for the fifth straight Sun Belt game and collected its 29th game of double digit hits. The team home run total increased to 57 leaving Louisiana three home runs shy of reaching 60 for the first time since 2007.
Adams increased his season RBI total to 36, taking over the team lead, and became the first Cajun to reach double digit home runs raising his team-leading total to 11.
The Cajuns stretched their season-best Sun Belt win streak to five games and posted their first sweep of ASU since 2006.
The Red Wolves scored in the first inning following a throwing error on a double steal attempt. Starter Cody Woodhouse made the 1-0 lead hold up until two outs in the third inning when Harrison singled home Dex Kjerstad to even the score at 1-1.
Adams' solo home run started the bottom of the fourth inning and provided Louisiana its first lead of the afternoon.
ASU missed an opportunity to either draw even or pull ahead in the sixth inning after getting a pair of baserunners off of Wilson. Stuart Levy struck out swinging with runners at second and third base for the final out allowing the Cajuns to hold on to a 2-1 lead.
For the second straight day a big inning by the Cajuns caused the game to get away from the Red Wolves as Harrison jumpstarted a six-run sixth inning with a leadoff home run.
After Woodhouse issued a walk to Tyler Girouard, a two-run home run from Adams upped the lead to 5-1 and led to an ASU pitching change.
Reliever Chandler Hawkins surrendered doubles to Blake Trahan, Dylan Butler and Michael Strentz in succession resulting in two more runs advancing the lead to 7-1 with still no outs recorded. Two batters later Kjertstad capped off the scoring with an RBI single into left field.
BASES NOTED: The six runs scored in the sixth inning marked the 15th time this season that Louisiana scored at least five runs in an inning…The Cajuns hit .368 for the series, marking the fifth straight weekend the squad hit above .350 in a Sun Belt series…UL is now batting .334 in Sun Belt games…The pitching staff ERA for the series was 3.33 giving UL a sub-4.00 ERA in an SBC series for the third straight week…Louisiana outscored Arkansas State 33-11 and out-hit the Red Wolves 39-22 over three games…During the squad's current five-game win streak in SBC play, the Cajuns are hitting .389, slugging .676 and have outscored foes a combined 56-16…Louisiana has now homered in 12 straight games and has belted 35 since April 1…The Cajuns improved to 30-5 when scoring at least five runs…UL is also 26-3 when producing double digit base hits…Dex Kjerstad collected his 23rd multiple-hit game, overall, and 14th in Sun Belt play…Caleb Adams' three RBI allowed him to take over the team lead with 10 multiple-RBI games…The seven-run margin of victory increased the season run differential to +116 (Cajuns have outscored the opposition a combined 357-241)… The Cajuns picked up their 24th home win of the season, marking the most wins at "The Tigue" since 27 were recorded in 2005…Louisiana is now one win shy of posting the 400th victory at the "Tigue" in the Robichaux era (399-153-1)…Matt Hicks recorded his second straight scoreless relief effort (threw 2/3 scorless at FIU on April 26)…Ben Carter turned in his longest outing of the season, topping the 3 2/3 innings pitched in collecting the save last Sunday at FIU…Blake Trahan extended his season-best hitting streak to 10 games with his double in the sixth inning…Michael Strentz picked up his 18th double of the season which has him two shy of becoming the first Cajun with 20 doubles since Jonathan Lucroy hit exactly 20 in 2006…UL has now scored 357 runs and is on pace to reach 400 runs for the first time since 2007 (six regular season games, plus postseason play)…The Cajuns 543 hits are the most produced since the 2010 team clubbed 597 and has the squad on pace for the hit 600-hit season since 2007…The Cajuns increased their all-time series lead over Arkansas State to 71-36 (40-25 in Robichaux era)…Louisiana improved to 23-12 at "The Tigue" vs. Arkansas State in the Tony Robichaux era (34-14 overall)...The series total attendance was 6,367 (2,122 avg.) marking the fifth time in seven weekend series at "The Tigue" that the total attendance exceeded 6,000...Louisiana ranks 29th nationally in average attendance at 2,145.