LAFAYETTE – Kyle DeBarge hit his third home of the season with a solo shot in the first inning and Carson Roccaforte recorded his first, four-hit game of the season in leading the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to a 6-5 win over High Point in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
Jackson Nezuh logged a career-best five innings and fanned a career-best eight batters as Louisiana (10-5) claimed the rubber game of the three-game series against HPU (6-9). Max Marusak produced a pair of hits for the Ragin’ Cajuns while Julian Brock, CJ Willis and John Taylor each posted one of Louisiana’s 11 hits in the game.
Louisiana scored twice in the first inning beginning with DeBarge’s one-out home run to left off HPU starter Gus Hughes (2-2). Roccaforte would help the Ragin’ Cajuns take a 2-0 lead in the frame when he singled through the right side, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Brock’s sacrifice fly to right.
Marusak led off the third inning with a bunt single before advancing to third when Hughes’ pickoff throw got past first baseman Cole Singsank. DeBarge would follow with an RBI single to right-center to extend Louisiana’s lead to 3-0.
High Point would close the gap to 3-2 in the fourth when Cael Chatham led off the inning with a walk before Adam Stuart homered off the left-field foul pole for his third home run of the season.
After a one-out single by Jack Pokorak, Nezuh would close out the inning by getting Singsank to pop out to second before fanning Josh Deslauriers.
Roccaforte would hit an RBI double to right off Hughes to drive in DeBarge and Heath Hood would drive in Roccaforte with a sacrifice fly to right for a 5-2 advantage.
The Panthers would chase Nezuh in the sixth after Stuart and Pokorak singled and Singsank hit a ground-rule double to right-center. Charlie Klingler’s RBI grounder would drive in Pokorak to close the HPU deficit to 5-4, but David Christie would fan pinch-hitter Patrick Matthews to end the inning.
Louisiana would take a 6-4 lead in the bottom half of the sixth after Taylor and Trey LaFleur each drew walks and Marusak reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Roccaforte would drive in his second run of the day when his two-out single to right scored pinch-runner Conor Higgs.
High Point would threaten in the ninth after Singsank drew a leadoff walk off closer Blake Marshall before Brett Ahalt’s RBI single closed the gap to 6-5. Marshall, who would pitch the final inning to notch his third save in the past four games, then got Javon Fields to line into a game-ending double play.
Christie pitched 2.2 innings of hitless relief with a pair of strikeouts for Louisiana, which fanned 10 batters and allowed three base runners in the final three innings.
Stuart led High Point at the plate going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI with Ahalt and Pokorak recording a pair of hits each. Hughes scattered eight hits and fanned four batters for the Panthers with David Keith allowing a pair of hits and fanned a pair of batters in 3.0 innings of relief.
Louisiana will play its first, five-game weekly slate beginning on Tuesday when it closes out its eight-game homestand against Jackson State. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Ragin’ Cajuns will then face SEC member Mississippi State on Wednesday in a 5 p.m. contest at MGM Park in Biloxi, Miss., before returning home to open Sun Belt Conference play against Arkansas State.
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