LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team scored in all but two innings on Friday night to defeat Arkansas State 13-2 and claim the series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park. The series victory is the seventh of the year for the Ragin’ Cajuns who are unbeaten in 17 straight series.
Junior Steven Sensley had a career day at the plate going 2-for-2 with a pair of home runs and reached base in all five plate appearances. Sensley notched career highs for both runs (4) and RBI (5) in the contest.
“Tonight we had a good approach, a sound approach from all nine guys,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “Now we need to not vacillate after one win or when we score in one inning. Steve has a great approach right now, and because of that he is becoming a good hitter with power instead of a power hitter. He took his walks tonight when he had to take them. The hitters did a good yesterday and then again tonight. We have to come back tomorrow with the same approach that we had the last two nights.”
The victory gives Robichaux 1,100 career victories in 32 seasons including 837 while at the helm of the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Louisiana improves to 20-14-1 on the season and 9-4-1 in league play to take over first place in the Sun Belt Conference West Division.
The Cajuns outhit the Red Wolves (19-16, 7-7 Sun Belt) 13-2 in the contest. Senior Ishmael Edwards extended his hit streak to 10 games in the victory going 1-for-3 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. Edwards is the third Louisiana player to reach a double-digit hit streak this season joining Alex Pinero and Todd Lott.
Junior Evan Guillory (2-2) picked up the victory tossing 4.1 scoreless innings of relief to close out the ballgame. Guillory limited A-State to two hits and one walk with four strikeouts. Starter Nick Lee allowed two runs on six hits in 4.2 innings with five walks and five strikeouts.
Arkansas State starter Peyton Culbertson (3-4) was handed the loss after surrendering nine runs on ten hits in 4.1 innings of work.
The Ragin’ Cajuns jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first as shortstop Brad Antchak brought home Edwards on an RBI groundout to shortstop to make the score 1-0. Later in the inning, left fielder Kennon Fontenot doubled home Sensley to give the Cajuns a 2-0 edge.
The Red Wolves scored their first run of the series in the top of the second on an RBI groundout to shortstop by Grant Hawkins to cut the advantage to 2-1.
Louisiana got the run back and more plating three runs on three hits and two walks to extend the lead to 5-1. After Edwards brought a run home on a sacrifice fly to right field, Antchak singled home catcher Handsome Monica to make the score 4-1. Third baseman Joe Robbins plated the final run of the inning scoring Antchak on a double to left center.
Sensley provided the first of his two homers on the night in the bottom of the fourth sending a two-run blast over the fence in right to give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 7-1 edge.
Arkansas State picked up a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Jake Bakamus, but the Cajuns put the game out of reach in the bottom half of the inning on a Monica sac fly and a Zach LaFleur RBI single to make the score 9-2.
Louisiana scored the final four runs of the game on an Alex Pinero sac fly in the sixth and a Sensley three-run homer in the seventh.
The Ragin’ Cajuns go for their second sweep of the season tomorrow with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Russo Park. Louisiana will start sophomore left-hander Hogan Harris (3-0, 2.51) in the series finale. The Cajuns are unbeaten this season in games started by Harris. A-State will counter with junior right-hander Tyler Mitzel (1-2, 6.00 ERA).