METAIRIE, La. – After falling behind early in the contest, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team saw its upset bid come up short Tuesday night as the Cajuns fell 8-6 to third-ranked LSU in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Foundation Classic at Zephyr Field.
“Our team did a good job coming in here and not letting the door get blown off. We really didn’t make good enough pitches early, but we stopped the bleeding and our hitters did a good job of fighting throughout the night,” head coachTony Robichaux said. “Their team reminds me a lot of our team last year. They are big physical hitters and we left the ball up on them early, but other than us not making pitches early I thought this was a winnable game for us.
“This was a great chance for us to show our young players what a regional is like. This game will do nothing but make us better for down the road. Even till the end we continued to fight, but they made the plays when they needed to.”
Louisiana (15-11) was outhit 10-8 by the Tigers (24-5). Junior shortstop Alex Bregman had a game-high three hits for LSU finishing a single short of the cycle while driving in four runs.
Brian Mills and Nick Thurman each had two hits to pace the Cajuns offense. Junior shortstop Blake Trahanextended his hit streak to 17 games with a single in the first inning. Stefan Trosclair also kept his streak alive at nine games after recording a single in the seventh inning.
Starter Connor Toups was handed his second loss of the season after giving up three runs on four hits in one inning of work.
Russell Reynolds was the winning pitcher of record for the Tigers to move to 2-0 on the year. Reynolds was very effective in relief holding the Cajuns to two runs on two hits in 4.2 innings with three strikeouts and two walks. Jesse Stallings earned his 11th save of the year facing the minimum in the ninth.
LSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after a sac fly to right by Bregman and an RBI single by Kade Scivicque.
The Cajuns answered in the top of the second as Joe Robbins and Trosclair drew a pair of bases loaded walks to even the contest at 2-all. Louisiana had a chance to push across more runs, but Bregman made a nice play to double up the Ragin’ Cajuns on a line drive back up the middle by Mills.
Chris Chinea regained the lead for the Tigers in bottom of the second as he launched a leadoff solo home run over the fence in left.
LSU added three runs in the bottom of the third on a RBI triple by Bregman and a two-run homer by Kade Scivicque. One more crossed for the Tigers an inning later when Bregman followed a Mark Laird double with an RBI double of his own to up the lead to 7-2.
Bregman struck once again with his seventh home run of the year, a solo shot to left with one out in the sixth off of Cajun reliever Wyatt Marks.
But the Cajuns offense came to life in the top of the seventh, cutting the lead to 8-6 with a four-run inning. Robbins started it off with a bunt singe on the third pitch of the inning and Trosclair followed with a single to left field. The Tigers then turned to Collin Strall out of the bullpen, and Mills delivered a hard single up the middle to bring Robbins in for the third Cajun run.
Greg Davis brought in Trosclair with a sacrifice fly two batters later, forcing LSU to go to their third pitcher of the inning. Nick Thurman then greeted Doug Norman with an RBI single through the right side and a fielder’s choice by Dylan Butler made it an 8-6 game as Trahan crossed the plate. But Norman ended the rally one batter later by retiring Tyler Girouard on strikes.
Louisiana got a leadoff single from Mills in the top of the ninth, but Bregman turned another double play on ball hit to left side of the infield by his counterpart Trahan and Davis grounded out to end the contest.
The Cajuns return to action this weekend as they host Georgia Southern in a three-game conference series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field starting Friday at 6 p.m.
For updates and info on Ragin’ Cajuns baseball, follow the team on twitter @CajunsBaseball or check RaginCajuns.com.