CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team makes its 18th appearance in the NCAA Regionals beginning on Friday when it faces No. 15-ranked Texas in the opening game of the Coral Gables Regional at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. CT. All games in the Coral Gables Regional will be streamed live on ESPN+. All Louisiana games can be heard in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.
The opening day of the Coral Gables Regional will feature host and No. 8-ranked Miami (40-19) against America East champion Maine (32-19) at 6 p.m. CT.
Louisiana earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Regionals after reaching the championship game of last week’s Guardian Credit Sun Belt Conference Championships in Montgomery, Ala. The Ragin’ Cajuns reached the finals after earning a sweep of top-seeded Coastal Carolina in the bracket final.
Kyle DeBarge (.370-6-35), Heath Hood (.336-6-40), Conor Higgs (.326-6-31), Julian Brock (.318-11-62), Carson Roccaforte (.309-6-51) and John Taylor (.302-7-46) are Louisiana’s top hitters entering the postseason. The Ragin’ Cajuns enter the regional ranked third nationally in stolen bases (161) and are sixth in the country in fielding percentage (.982).
Louisiana will send Jackson Nezuh (9-5, 6.14 ERA) to the mound against Big 12 regular-season champion Texas (38-20). The right-hander fanned a team-high 95 batters in 85.0 innings for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Texas won its 10th Big 12 Championship, clinching a share of the regular season title with a sweep of West Virginia. The Longhorns earned the top seed in last week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship but went 0-2 in the tournament. Texas is batting .297 as a team with 85 homers, the second-most in program history. The pitching staff leads the Big 12 and ranks 13th nationally with a 4.13 ERA, while the defense ranks first in the Big 12 and 15th nationally.
Peyton Powell has had a breakout season for the Longhorns and is the team’s leading hitter with a .358 batting average, 15 doubles, 10 homers and 43 RBI. Powell burst onto the scene during the month of March, starting all 19 games and picking up at least one hit in 16-of-19, with multiple hits in 11 of them.
Lucas Gordon, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and All-American, will earn the start in Friday’s opener for the Longhorns after posting a 2.55 ERA and a 6-1 record in 16 appearances (15 starts) this season. Gordon struck out 90 batters in 88.1 innings pitched through the Big 12 Championships, while also holding hitters to a .219 batting average against.
NCAA CORAL GABLES REGIONAL
Game 1 – Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (40-22) vs. #15 Texas Longhorns (38-20)
Game 2 – Maine Black Bears (32-19) vs. #8 Miami Hurricanes (40-19)
DATE/TIMES (dates and times are subject to change)
Friday – June 2, 1 p.m. CT
Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field (3,552) | Coral Gables, Fla.
FRIDAY – 1 p.m. CT
LOUISIANA | RH Jackson Nezuh (6-1, 180, Jr., St. Cloud, Fla.)
’23 Stats: 9-5, 6.14 ERA, 85.0 IP, 82 H, 61 R, 58 ER, 32 BB, 95 K, .255 OppBA
TEXAS | LH Lucas Gordon (6-1, 193, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
’23 Stats: 6-1, 2.55 ERA, 88.1 IP, 70 H, 28 R, 25 ER, 29 BB, 90 K, .219 OppBA
Louisiana – Not ranked
Texas – No. 15 (Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball)
RADIO (Pregame Show starts 30 minutes prior to first pitch)
Station – KPEL-FM (96.5) / The Varsity Network App
Talent – Jay Walker (pxp); Anthony Babineaux (color)
Talent – Roy Philpott (pxp); Gaby Sanchez (analyst)
SERIES RECORD (vs. Texas)
Overall: Texas leads, 33-8
In Lafayette: Texas leads, 3-1
In Austin: Texas leads, 30-4
Neutral Sites: Louisiana leads, 3-0
In NCAA Postseason: Tied, 1-1
Last 10: 5-5
SERIES RECORD (vs. Miami)
SERIES RECORD (vs. Maine)
Overall: Louisiana leads, 5-3
In Lafayette: Louisiana leads, 5-3
In Orono: Never met
Neutral Sites: Never Met
In NCAA Postseason: Never met
Last 10: Louisiana, 5-3
• Louisiana makes its second consecutive trip and 18th appearance overall in the NCAA Championships and is 33-38 overall.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns earned an at-large berth for the first time since the 2013 season.
• Louisiana’s trip to Coral Gables marks its first Regional appearance (and second postseason berth) where it has played outside of the Central Time Zone.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns earned a Super Regional victory at South Carolina in 2000.
Louisiana and Texas have faced twice in the NCAA postseason with the teams splitting a pair of games (1999 – Louisiana; 2010 – Texas)
• Cooper Rawls’ 10 wins on the mound in 2023 equal the most by a Cajuns pitcher since Gunner Leger (10) in 2017.
• Louisiana’s 161 stolen bases in 2023 mark the first time the Ragin’ Cajuns have stolen 100-plus bases in back-to-back seasons since 1999-2000 (110/125). Louisiana stole 138 bases in 2022.
• With 35 stolen bases, Heath Hood is the first Ragin’ Cajun since Nathan Nelson (33) in 2000 to eclipse 30+ steals in a season.
• Louisiana is one of two Division I schools (VMI) nationally with four players with 20+ steals in a season.
• Louisiana is third nationally in stolen bases (161) and sixth in fielding percentage (.982).
• Carson Roccaforte’s 25 doubles in 2023 are tied with Kevin Meyers (1989) for the most in a single-season in school history.
• Max Marusak’s nine sacrifice bunts in 2023 are two shy of the single-season, school record shared by Tyler Robertson (2022), Seth Harrison (2014) and Josh Landry (2006).
• Hood is one triple shy of moving into a tie for fifth-place (11) in school history with Ron Robicheaux (1983-86) and Major Swindler (1967-70).
• Roccaforte’s 61 career steals are the third-most in school history trailing Mickey Berry (69, 1977-78) and Papo Ramos (63, 1991-92).
• Hood’s 53 stolen bases are two shy of passing Ruben Rodriguez (1987-88) for sixth in school history.
• Louisiana ranks first in the SBC in fielding percentage (.982), shutouts (5), stolen bases, and stolen bases per game.
• Louisiana is 31-7 when scoring six or more runs per game and 33-8 when allowing five runs or less.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns have hit five grand slam home runs during the 2023 season (Julian Brock – 3, Conor Higgs – 1; Max Marusak – 1).
• The Ragin’ Cajuns are 19-3 in games decided by five runs or greater during the 2023 season.
• The Ragin’ Cajuns .982 fielding percentage is on pace to finish as the best mark in school history, eclipsing the previous best (.979) set in 2018.