LAFAYETTE – A stellar relief effort by Ben Frith slowed down South Alabama and the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team outscored the Jaguars 17-1 after falling behind 6-0 in the first inning to capture the second game of a Sunday doubleheader here at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field by a 17-7 count and earn a split of the twinbill.
Frith retired the first seven Jaguars that he faced during the 6 1/3 innings of four-hit relief while his teammates plated 10 unanswered runs to recover from the early six-run deficit.
A three-run home run by Caleb Adams and two-run home run by Dylan Butler in the fifth inning extended the lead to 16-7. Adams' second home run of the game came in the seventh inning and ended the game early by the mercy rule.
The win allowed the Ragin' Cajuns (35-17, 16-11 Sun Belt) to avoid a series sweep. The Jaguars (39-14, 19-8 Sun Belt), who took the series opener 9-6 on Saturday, raced out to an 8-1 lead after 4-1/2 innings of play in landing a 9-5 win in the day's first contest.
The Cajuns completed the regular season portion of their home schedule, finishing with a 25-7 mark at "The Tigue". The game two victory gave Tony Robichaux his 400th victory at "The Tigue" as Cajuns skipper.
Louisiana closes out the 2013 regular season Thursday-Saturday, May 16-18 at Warhawk Field in Monroe against ULM (18-33, 7-20 Sun Belt). All three games are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
Adams and Butler each homered twice in the doubleheader. Adams led all Cajuns with six RBI, five coming in the nightcap.
Adams finished 4-for-5 with four runs, five RBI and two home runs in game two, upping his team-leading home run total to 13 and team-leading RBI total to 44. Seth Harrison added four RBI and three runs as he became the first Cajun to reach 50 runs scored in a season since Jordan Poirrier in 2010.
Frith's effectiveness in his game two relief effort came in the ability to keep the Jaguars from putting the ball on the turf. He induced 12 fly ball outs from the 23 batters that he faced. The result was only one run for USA over the final 6 1/3 innings and Frith's first victory in his Cajuns career.
USA scored in each of the first five innings of the opening game with four of the first seven runs coming with two outs.
Trailing 8-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Cajuns picked up runs on a Michael Strentz home run and Dex Kjerstad single. A solo home run by Butler in the sixth inning brought Louisiana within four runs at 8-4.
The Jaguars added a run in the eighth inning after a leadoff single by Jordan Patterson and subsequent double from Nick Zaharion. A caught stealing of pinch runner Cole Billingsley and outfield assist from Kjerstad aided the Cajuns in holding the deficit at 9-4.
The Jaguars would hold on to lock up the series victory as reliever Jaime Dennis pitched two innings of hitless relief allowing only an inherited runner to score in the eighth inning on an Adams sacrifice fly.
Cody Boutte was dealt the loss for UL as he was responsible for seven of the Jaguars runs scored in 3 2/3 innings.
Three home runs aided South Alabama in scoring the six runs in the top first inning of the second game as the Jaguars chased Ben Carter before he could complete the inning. Frith collected a grounder from Graham Odom for the final out.
The Cajuns got three runs back in bottom of the first as they began to trim the USA lead.
A Harrison triple in the second inning drew the squad into a 6-all tie, then Tyler Girouard's second sacrifice fly of the game followed giving UL a 7-6 lead.
Adams scored the Cajuns' fifth run of the second inning on a throwing error, then Louisiana began to create separation as the lead stretched to 10-6 in the third inning by benefit of another USA throwing error and Harrison sacrifice fly.
Frith's lone run allowed came off a Jeff DeBlieux triple in the fourth inning. His teammates responded with a run in the bottom half and a five-run fifth inning that was generated by home runs from Adams and Butler.
Five different hitters posted multiple hits as the Cajuns registered their 30 game of double digits hits by posting 16.
USA starting pitcher Jacob Noble surrendered a season-high five earned runs. Tripp Cecil, who allowed two inherited runners to score and the go-ahead run on Girouard's second-inning sacrifice fly, was charged with the loss for the Jaguars.
BASES NOTED: South Alabama took the season series from Louisiana for the fourth time in the past five seasons…The Cajuns lost a weekend series at home for the first time in 2013…UL had a string of five consecutive series won snapped and dropped a series for only the third time in 13 weekends…The Cajuns posted nine extra-base hits in the nightcap increasing the season total to 193…Louisiana's five home runs in the doubleheader upped the season total to 62, marking the first season with 60-plus home runs since hitting 76 in 2007…The four sacrifice flies in the nightcap marked a season-high for UL and was one shy of the school record five posted against Dartmouth in March 1991…Caleb Adams' RBI ground out in the first inning of the second game allowed him to become the first Cajun with 40 RBI this season…Dylan Butler's two-run home run in the fifth inning of the second game brought his season RBI total to 40…Prior to his appearance today, Ben Frith had pitched six innings in his entire Cajuns career…The two five-run innings in the nightcap give the Cajuns 18 innings this season in which they've scored at least five runs….The two-day total attendance for the series was 5,064 (2,532 avg.) bringing the final regular season total attendance to 65,142 (2,171 avg.)…The Cajuns will enter the final week of the regular season needing 15 runs to reach 400 for the first time since 2007 and 25 hits to reach 600 for the first time since 2007…Louisiana remained undefeated (13-0) when scoring double digit runs and improved to 27-3 when reaching double digits in base hits.