BATON ROUGE – Right-hander David Christie tossed a career-high 6.0 innings in relief to earn his first victory of the season while Heath Hood and Conor Higgs each belted home runs to lead the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team to an 8-5 win over No. 1-ranked LSU on Tuesday at Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field.
Louisiana (26-12) earned its first win over a No. 1-ranked team since a 4-1 win over LSU (29-7) on Feb. 25, 2014. The Ragin’ Cajuns handed the Tigers their first midweek loss of the season and their second non-conference loss in 22 games.
Christie (1-0) kept one of the nation’s premiere offenses in check all night as he scattered three hits and struck out one. Carson Fluno, who was earning his first career start for Louisiana, allowed five hits and three runs in 2.0 innings of play before Christie came aboard in the third inning.
Louisiana trailed 1-0 after Cade Beloso’s triple in the first inning before scoring twice in the second to take its first lead of the night. Hood, who finished 2-for-5 on the night, led off with a single to left before stealing his 25th base off LSU reliever Thatcher Hurd. After John Taylor drew a walk, both runners advanced on an errant pickoff attempt before Clay Wargo’s sacrifice bunt – the first of three by the reserve catcher – scored Hood to tie the game at 1-1.
Two batters later, Will Veillon added an RBI single to plate Taylor and give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 2-1 lead.
LSU tied the game in bottom of the second before Louisiana would score twice in the third to take the lead for good.
Carson Roccaforte reached on a two-out, infield single for the Ragin’ Cajuns before Hood deposited a 2-and-2 into the left-field bleachers for a 4-2 lead.
Louisiana capitalized on a pair of misplayed fly balls to add two more runs as Higgs and Veillon reached on back-to-back doubles. Julian Brock would add a pinch-hit RBI single down the right-field line to drive in Veillon and give Louisiana a 6-3 lead.
Christie retired LSU in order in the sixth inning before getting out of a jam in the seventh after Tre’ Morgan led off with a double. The right-hander got Dylan Crews to hit a fly ball to center before getting Beloso to eventually hit into an inning-ending, double play to keep the Tigers off the board.
Higgs, who went 3-for-4, gave Louisiana an 8-3 lead in the top of the seventh when he belted his fourth home run of the season after greeting LSU reliever Blake Money with a two-run blast to right.
Cooper Rawls pitched the final inning for Louisiana after Christie allowed a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Hayden Travinski. Morgan followed with a two-run homer to right, but the nation’s co-leader in wins would settle down as he struck out the side beginning with a called third strike to Crews, who finished 0-for-2 with three walks after entering the game with a .500 average.
Louisiana collected 14 hits off five LSU pitchers with the Ragin’ Cajuns bottom three in the order – Higgs, Veillon and CJ Willis – going a combined 8-for-13 with four RBI. Brock, who missed the majority of Louisiana’s doubleheader on Sunday against Troy (illness), was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Tommy White led LSU – which was fourth nationally in hitting (.329) and second in runs scored (365) – at the plate with a 4-for-5 performance. Morgan finished 2-for-5 for the Tigers while Riley Cooper (1-2) took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in 3.1 innings.
Louisiana will resume Sun Belt Conference action on Friday when it opens a three-game series at league newcomer James Madison in Harrisonburg, Va.