Cajuns Drop Extra-Inning Battle Against Little Rock 4-3
Louisiana starter Connor Cooke and outfielder Brennan Breaux shined for the Cajuns in game two of their series against the Little Rock Trojans, but the team lost a 10-inning battle 4-3.
Louisiana has now lost six consecutive Sun Belt Conference games. They are 21-17 overall and 7-7 in conference play.
Cooke threw an excellent game for the Cajuns. In 6.1 innings pitched, he only allowed two hits and two earned runs while striking out seven batters and walking three. At one point, he had retired 12 consecutive Trojans. However, by the time he left the game, Louisiana was down 2-0.
The first of two Trojans hits on Cooke was a big one. After the Cajuns starter surrendered a leadoff walk, a two-run home run put Little Rock on the board first. After that, he was nearly unhittable.
Even though Cooke was pitching a great game, Louisiana's offense struggled to start. Through the first six innings, Cajuns catcher Drake Osborn was 3-3, but the rest of the lineup was 0-18 with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Breaux finally broke that streak by hitting a double with one out in the seventh inning to get a runner in scoring position for Louisiana. A groundout advanced him to third base, and the second walk of the game set up runners at the corners with two outs. A stolen base put the tying run in scoring position, but a strikeout ended a great chance to get back into it
Louisiana loaded the bases in the top of the eighth with a walk and two hit batsmen. To that point, the Cajuns were 0-9 with runners on base and 0-7 with runners in scoring position before Breaux came up big again with a two-out two-RBI base hit to tie the game and give Louisiana life. The Cajuns stranded two runners in scoring position in the eighth, but the hit tied the game 2-2.
Jacob Schultz came out of the bullpen in the eighth and used six pitches to get three outs in the bottom half of the inning. Louisiana entered the ninth with a chance to take their first lead of the night.
CJ Willis opened up the ninth with a single. A sacrifice bunt moved him to second base and a groundout moved him to third. However, a great defensive play robbed Carson Roccaforte of an extra-base hit that would have given the Cajuns the lead.
In the bottom half of the ninth inning, Schultz got a huge strikeout to strand two runners in scoring position, and the Cajuns entered their first extra-inning game since March 14 against Southern Miss.
In the top half of the 10th inning, Connor Kimple reached on a throwing error and got to third base on another throwing error. Ben Fitzgerald walked and Breaux came through again, executing a squeeze bunt to give the Cajuns a 3-2 lead.
Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs praised Breaux's three-hit performance.
"He had a big night," Deggs said. "I thought he swung the bat really well and he executed the big squeeze play for us at the end there."
Louisiana loaded the bases with one out in the inning, but a fly out was not deep enough for the runner at third to tag and add an insurance run, so they settled for one.
Two walks put two on in the bottom of the 10th for the Trojans, and, with two outs, the first fielding error of the series for the Cajuns came on a ground ball and allowed two runs to score to walk it off for Little Rock.
After fighting back late and even taking the lead in extra innings, this loss is a tough one for the Cajuns. Louisiana will look to avoid the sweep in the series finale on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Carter Robinson will start for the Cajuns.