LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns recorded a season-high nine hits with two outs while scoring nine runs through the first three innings to defeat No. 6-ranked Coastal Carolina, 11-9, in the opening game of a Sun Belt Conference series on Friday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
Carson Roccaforte and John Taylor had three hits apiece as eight of nine starters had at least one hit for Louisiana (29-15, 11-8 SBC), which captured its second straight win over a top-10 team while posting 16 hits for the second straight game. Will Veillon went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles as the Ragin’ Cajuns had five in the game to match a season-high.
The series will resume on Saturday in a 4 p.m. contest. 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 on-line through the Varsity Network app.
Coastal Carolina (26-14, 13-6 SBC) scored twice in the first inning off Louisiana starter Cooper Rawls as Caden Bodine lined an RBI double just inside the first base line and Zach Beach added an RBI single.
Starter Matthew Potok (3-3) retired the first two batters for the Chanticleers before Louisiana’s offense took off, scoring four unearned runs in the process.
Heath Hood beat out an infield single to keep the inning going before Potok hit Conor Higgs to put runners on the first and second. The next batter, Julian Brock, then reached on a throwing error, allowing both runners to score and tie the game at 2-2.
Roccaforte followed with a single to right before Taylor doubled to right-center to give Louisiana a 4-2 lead.
Louisiana added five more runs in the third after Coastal tied the game on an RBI double by Derek Bender and sacrifice fly by Chad Born. Potok, who allowed nine hits and nine runs in 3.0 innings, opened the frame with a pair of strikeouts before Higgs hit a two-out single to left.
Higgs stole second and scored on Brock’s double to left-center to put Louisiana back up, 5-4, before scoring one batter later when Roccaforte doubled into the gap in right-center. Taylor added an opposite-field single to drive in Roccaforte before Veillon hit an RBI double and would score on Max Marusak’s infield single.
The Cajuns, who swiped four bases to increase their season total to 125, took a 10-4 lead in the fourth as Kyle DeBarge scored on a double steal. Louisiana added an insurance run in the eighth when DeBarge reached on a squeeze bunt to plate Veillon, who led off the inning with a ground-rule double.
Nick Lucky added a solo home run for Coastal Carolina in the eighth inning before the Chanticleers scored four times in the ninth with Beach hitting a three-run home run after Graham Brown drove in Payton Eeles with an RBI single.
Dylan Theut (2-0) relieved Rawls in the third inning and allowed one hit in 5.0 scoreless innings before leaving with an injury in the seventh. Carson Fluno and Blake Marshall closed out the contest for the Ragin’ Cajuns with Marshall tying a career-high with five strikeouts, including Born to close out the game after the Chanticleers had the tying run on deck.
Five players – Eeles, Bodine, Bender, Lucky and Beach – had two hits apiece for Coastal Carolina, which came into the game ranked fifth nationally in runs scored and 11th in hitting (.319).
Single-game tickets are available by visiting the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome or purchasing by visiting Account Manager. For more information call the Louisiana Athletics Box Office at the Cajundome at (337) 265-2104.
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