The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team won their opening series of Sun Belt Conference play with a 5-3 victory in game 3 against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

Louisiana starter Austin Perrin had an excellent outing for the Cajuns. Through six innings, he had faced the minimum amount of Chanticleer hitters. Three runs were charged to him in the seventh inning, but he finished with 6.2 innings pitched, allowing three runs and striking out six batters.

Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs commended his starter's performance.

"I said it before the game that I thought it was a good matchup for him," Deggs said. "He had them off balance all day. I couldn't be more proud of a guy. He's battled behind the scenes and he's overcome a lot of stuff."

The Cajuns offense used Perrin's stellar start to jump out to an early lead.

Ben Fitzgerald hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to open the scoring for Louisiana. Two batters later, Carson Roccaforte cracked a solo home run, and the Cajuns jumped out 3-0. In Fitzgerald's second at-bat, he hit his second home run of the game to stretch the lead to 4-0 in the third inning.

Fitzgerald's two home runs got the Cajuns off to a great start in the series-deciding game three, and Deggs said the big hits were a product of his confidence.

"For a power guy, he is short and quick to the baseball," Deggs said. "When he's confident, you see what he's capable of doing.

Anthony Catalano added the fifth run of the game on a two-out RBI-double in the bottom of the 4th to make it 5-0, but that was the last run the Cajuns would score.

Perrin, who had made it through six innings unscathed, gave up a walk in the seventh and lost the shutout on a two-out double and triple. Connor Cooke came in for Perrin and gave up a RBI-single before finally recording the last out of the inning.

Coastal Carolina tightened the Louisiana lead to 5-3 in the seventh, and after Cooke got a clean inning in the eighth, they had one last shot in the final inning of regulation.

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases in the top of the ninth with one out, but Cooke slammed the door shut with two strikeouts to record his first save of the season and give the Cajuns their Sun Belt series victory.

"I'm going to steal a Coach Robe phrase here, but we survived their push," Deggs said. "I hope these boys enjoy this one tonight."

With the win, Louisiana is now 13-11 overall and 2-1 in Sun Belt Conference play. Up next, the Cajuns play Coastal Carolina for a fourth time, but this game is a non-conference match. The game is set for 11:00 a.m. on Monday.

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