LAFAYETTE –Jackson Nezuh retired the first 13 batters he faced and notched his fourth quality start of the season while Carson Roccaforte went 2-for-4 with a solo home run to lead the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to a 7-3 win over Texas State in the opening game of a Sun Belt Conference series on Friday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
The second game of the three-game series between Louisiana (33-18, 15-10 SBC) and Texas State (33-17, 15-10 SBC) on Saturday is slated for a 4 p.m. start. Fans are asked to arrive early for Senior Day ceremonies prior to the start of the contest with Senior Day festivities scheduled for post-game.
The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with fans able to listen to the game in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.
Louisiana opened the scoring in the first inning after Max Marusak doubled on the first pitch from Texas State starter Levi Wells (7-3) before moving to third on Kyle DeBarge’s sacrifice bunt and scoring on Heath Hood’s RBI grounder.
The Ragin’ Cajuns added a run in the fourth as Julian Brock drew a two-out walk. The junior catcher was then successful on a delayed steal of second and moved to third on a throwing error before Roccaforte hit an RBI single to right for a 2-0 lead.
DeBarge began a three-run rally in the sixth inning for Louisiana when he reached on a one-out double and moved to third on an error. DeBarge would score on Hood’s fielder’s choice against a drawn-in infield and give Louisiana a 3-0 lead.
Two batters later, Brock lined a triple down the right-field line off Wells – the first of his career – to plate Hood and Conor Higgs to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 5-0 cushion.
Nezuh (8-4), who notched his second straight quality start after going 7.0 innings and allowing two runs, cruised through the first four innings for Louisiana before issuing a one-out walk to Chase Mora before Rashawn Galloway singled through the right side for the Bobcats’ first hit of the game.
The right-hander struck out seven batters and scattered four hits – three coming in the seventh inning when Daylan Pena and Mora reached on singles before Payton Lewis’ double into the corner put Texas State on the board.
Louisiana pushed the lead to 6-2 in the seventh after Will Veillon doubled and eventually scored on Marusak’s sacrifice fly before Roccaforte belted his fourth home run of the season with a two-out blast to right-center.
Cooper Rawls pitched the final 2.0 innings for Louisiana, fanning a pair of batters in the process. Hood, Brock and Roccaforte drove in two runs each for Louisiana, which snapped a four-game losing streak to the Bobcats in regular-season games and claimed its first win since a 9-0 win in the opening game of a doubleheader on May 1, 2021.
Wells allowed six hits and five earned runs in 6.2 innings for Texas State before giving way to Jonathan Martinez in the seventh. Pena led the Bobcats at the plate going 2-for-4 while Jose Gonzalez led off the ninth inning with a double.