By: Jeff Schneider
JONESBORO, Ark. - Junior Carson Baranik tossed an 84-pitch, complete-game shutout Saturday night as the second-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team defeated Arkansas State 7-0 in front of the second largest crowd in Tomlinson Stadium history to win its 13th straight weekend series.
Baranik faced just one over the minimum in the outing striking out seven with no walks to improve to 9-1 on the season. The right-hander retired the last 15 batters he face in the contest to earn his second complete game shutout of the year.
"We got off to a good start and they kicked the ball around a bit," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "We built a good lead early and then tacked on a couple more, and that was really all that we needed. They had a good arm tonight and we were able to match them. Baranik was able to locate his stuff all night and did a good job of keeping the ball down and getting ahead of hitters."
The Cajuns move to 43-6 overall and 20-3 in conference play, while the Red Wolves fall to 26-21 on the year and 14-9 in league play. With a win tomorrow, the Ragin' Cajuns would clinch at least a share of the Sun Belt title, and a Texas State loss along with a Louisiana victory would give the squad the outright regular season title.
Bradley Wallace was tabbed with the loss for ASU despite tying a career-high with 12 strikeouts in the game. Wallace gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in seven innings.
Louisiana outhit the Red Wolves 10-2 in the contest. Tyler Girouard was 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, an RBI and scored a run. Chase Compton was a perfect 2-for-2 and Seth Harrison had a game-high two RBI.
The Cajuns jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the top of the second. Girouard singled to lead off the inning and then moved to third after a Dylan Butler walk and a Jace Conrad sac bunt. Girouard then came to score on a throwing error by catcher Stuart Levy for the first run of the game. Compton made the score 2-0 on an RBI single to right, while Blake Trahan came in to score on a wild pitch later in the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Michael Strentz drove in Conrad on a sac fly to deep right center. Conrad was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a Trahan single and a Compton sac bunt.
After two scoreless innings, Girouard added a run on a bunt single scoring Caleb Adams from third with two outs to give the Cajuns a 5-0 advantage.
Harrison tacked on a couple runs in the ninth on a single that scored Compton and Adams with two outs.
The Ragin' Cajuns will go for the sweep tomorrow at 1 p.m. as they face Arkansas State in the series finale at Tomlinson Stadium. Senior left-handed Cody Boutte will make the start boasting a 6-0 record and a 2.58 ERA. The Red Wolves will counter with right-hander Tanner Gaines. Gaines is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA in four starts.
"We are set up good for a championship, and that's what we have done all the grinding for," Robichaux added. "We just need to come out tomorrow and continue to compete."
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