Louisiana Beats Georgia Southern 5-1 To Capture Series Victory
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns bounced back from a tough loss on Saturday to beat the Georgia Southern Eagles 5-1 and win the weekend series.
With the victory, Louisiana improved to 14-13 overall and 4-5 in Sun Belt Conference play. Starting pitcher Jeff Wilson threw eight strong innings for the Cajuns, and Louisiana's offense crushed eight extra-base hits in the contest. Head coach Matt Deggs talked about Wilson's performance and his team's execution in the rubber match.
"Jeff had them off-balance," Deggs said. "He set a tone for us and gave us a chance to score. I thought the hitters did a great job today complimenting Jeff. He settled in, pounded the zone, and gave us a chance to make plays. We played pretty good defense."
The first trouble that Wilson ran into came in the third inning. A one out double and single put runners at the corners, but the Cajun starter was able to get a double-play to keep the Eagles scoreless.
The Cajuns were scoreless through the first three innings, but they had a big opportunity to break through in the bottom of the fourth. A leadoff walk and double had two runners in scoring position without any outs, but a groundout, line-out, and pop-up kept them of the board.
Georgia Southern captured the lead in the top of the fifth inning. A leadoff solo home run made it 1-0, but Wilson locked down the Eagles after that hit. Following the home run, Wilson retired 11 straight batters. The Cajuns didn't give up a hit in the last four innings.
Louisiana rallied for a massive three-run inning in the bottom half of the fifth to instantly take their first lead. CJ Willis pinch-hit doubled to start the inning, and Warnner Rincones brought him home on a one-out RBI-single. Rincones stole second before Max Marusak crushed his second home run of the weekend to make it 3-1. The Cajuns put two more base runners on with two outs, but a fly-out kept the lead at two runs.
After Wilson sat the Eagles down in order, Louisiana added to their lead in the sixth. Willis once again set up the scoring opportunity with a triple, and Julian Brock cracked a two-run home run for the Cajuns. With two outs, Marusak singled, Tyler Robertson walked, and Kyle DeBarge was hit by a pitch. However, a line-out stranded the bases loaded. Louisiana still held a commanding 5-1 lead through six.
Willis, who came off the bench in the game, doubled in the seventh inning for his third extra-base hit of the contest. A fly-out stranded him, but Deggs talked about Willis after his 3-3 day.
"All CJ does is help and serve his teammates with a smile on his face, and the game paid him back today," Deggs said.
Wilson continued rolling with two groundouts to start the eighth. With a climbing pitch count, he hit a batter to break a streak of 11 straight Eagles retired. A walk put two runners on, but Wilson was able to get out of the inning with a deep fly-out.
Dylan Theut relieved Wilson in the top of the ninth and struck out all three batters he faced in the frame. The Cajuns took the series with a 5-1 victory.
Wilson was excellent for the Cajuns. He pitched eight innings, allowing only four hits, one walk, and one earned run while striking out four. He finished with 123 pitches and got 13 groundouts in the game. This series should have been a sweep in Louisiana's favor, but earning another series victory against a good team should continue to build momentum for the Cajuns.
Up next, Louisiana travels for a five-game road trip starting with two games in Ruston to face Louisiana Tech. Game one of that midweek series starts on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.