LAFAYETTE, La. – The 14th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team got a big hit late from Joe Robbins as the Cajuns won a tightly-contested game, 5-3, against fourth-seeded Princeton in the squad’s Lafayette Regional opener Friday night at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The win increases the Ragin’ Cajuns (42-19) win streak to 11-games, which is the longest since the beginning of the 2014 season when the Cajuns won 14 straight games from March 7-26. Louisiana has won eight straight NCAA regional games including five straight at The Tigue.
“We played great defense tonight,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “At the end of the night, we pitched, we played defense and we got timely hitting. That’s what we’ve done for a long time. I’m proud of our guys, especially with them having to wait all day. They were able to stay the course with us playing till midnight, and I am proud of them.”
Starter Nick Lee was touched for three runs on five hits in five innings of work as he did not factor in the decision.
Senior Eric Carter (6-2) earned his sixth victory of the year in the contest tossing three scoreless innings in relief with five strikeouts.
Sophomore Dylan Moore broke his own single season saves record in the game with a perfect ninth inning in relief. Moore now has 27 saves in his career and is tied with Randy Wilson of South Florida (1985-86) for third all-time on the Sun Belt career saves list. The right-hander is one back of Bob Undorf of South Florida (2004-06) for second and needs four more saves to tie Hugh Adams of FAU (2009-13) for the SBC record.
Moore is also three saves back of Wilson and FIU’s Ozzie Lugo for the Sun Belt single season saves record.
Chad Powers (6-4) was strong on the mound for the Tigers (24-20) in a loss. Powers gave up five runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings. The right-hander struck out eight and did not allow a free pass.
Offensively, the Cajuns outhit Princeton 7-6 led by Kennon Fontenot who went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI. Billy Arendt led the Tigers at the plate going 2-for-4 with a triple and scored two runs.
Princeton jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Arendt tripled to left centerfield and then scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Danny Hoy.
In the bottom of the second, Steven Sensley crushed a 1-0 pitch from Powers well over the fence in right centerfield to even the contest at 1-all. The home run is the sixth of the season for Sensley.
Fontenot gave the Cajuns a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth with an opposite field solo homer to right field. The home run is Fontenot’s fourth of the year.
Hoy drove in his second run of the game in the top of the sixth bringing home Jesper Horsted on a single to right field to tie the game at 2-all. Later in the inning, Joseph Flynn put the Tigers back in front 3-2 on a two-out single back up the middle.
Louisiana knotted the game at 3-all in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out RBI single to centerfield by Fontenot scoring Stefan Trosclair from second base. Trosclair singled to centerfield to lead off the inning and then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brenn Conrad.
Robbins came through with the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth as he tripled homeHunter Kasuls to give the Cajuns a 4-3 edge. Robbins then scored on a Kyle Clement sac fly down the right field line to give the Ragin’ Cajuns an insurance run.
Louisiana will face second-seeded Arizona in the Lafayette Regional winner’s bracket game on Saturday at 7 p.m. at The Tigue. The winner of that contest would advance to the championship game on Sunday.