Jun 2, 2014 7:47 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - The top-ranked Louisiana baseball team scored 12 runs in the first four innings to cruise to a 14-8 victory over Mississippi State on Sunday night at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field. With the win, the Ragin' Cajuns force a winner-take-all championship game tomorrow at 6 p.m. at "the Tigue".
"It was a long day," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "These guys grinded today like we expected them to and we knew they would. Our fans showed up and we got a lot of adrenaline working with our hitters and they did an exceptional job tonight of taking over the game at home plate. Cody (Boutte) did a great job of getting us off to a great start, minimized his damage along the way and we were able to bullpen it to the back end and got it done. Tonight we'll get some sleep and get ready to go tomorrow."
Jace Conrad, Blake Trahan and Dylan Butler each had three hits in the game as the Cajuns (56-8) pounded out 18 hits in the contest. Conrad and Seth Harrison each had three RBI in the nightcap. The three RBI for Conrad gave him nine on the day and 64 on the season to take over the team lead.
Senior Cody Boutte improved to a perfect 9-0 on the season after giving up five runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings with four strikeouts. Boutte retired 11 of 12 batters from the third to the seventh inning.
MSU starter Ross Mitchell was saddled with the loss to fall to 8-5 on the season. Mitchell gave up six runs on seven hits in three innings of work. The three innings is the shortest outing for Mitchell in a start this year.
Brett Pirtle led the Bulldogs (39-23) offensively with a game-high four hits and three RBI.
Conrad got things going offensively in the bottom of the first as he rocketed his second home run of the day over the right field fence for a two-run homer. The home run is his ninth of the season.
In the bottom of the second, Butler extended the lead to 3-0 on hard hit single back up the middle that plated Harrison.
The Bulldogs answered in the top of the third to tie the game with three runs on three hits. Pirtle drove in the first run of the inning for MSU on a single to right center. In the next at bat, Gavin Collins drove a sac fly into left field to cut the lead to one run. Wes Rea singled to left to tie the game at 3-all.
Louisiana posted a three-spot of its own in the bottom half of the third to regain a three-run lead. After RBI singles by Caleb Adams and Chase Compton, Harrison sent a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Adams from third to make the score 6-3.
The Cajuns exploded for six runs on six hits in the bottom of the fourth to get out to a 12-3 lead. A two-run double by Seth Harrison highlighted the scoring in the inning.
The Ragin' Cajuns added its final two runs on RBI singles by Tyler Girouard in the fifth and Butler in the sixth.
Louisiana Head Coach Tony Robichaux Quotes
On confidence gained at the plate yesterday carrying over into today: "That was big. We got back to our approach. That's the whole key. Our whole motto in the AAIT is attitude and the second "a" is approach. Our approach was not good enough opening night and it did us in. They (hitters) went back to their approach. When they have their approach they're a tough team to deal with one through nine and that showed today. Sometimes when you play a doubleheader like that it's also good because you've been playing all day you just keep on playing. A lot of times you can sit around at a hotel and come play just one game and some- times the advantage goes to the team that's been playing all day. That's the way we took it. We played game one and get ready and go right into game two. I think our approach after opening night changed and I think that's what has made us a better hitting team."
On the possibility of facing a different style pitcher tomorrow, potentially Jacob Lindgren: "The big thing we have to try to do tomorrow is just remember that this is evened up now. We have to go out there and play with our mindset and approach. Coach (Matt Deggs) will look at what he (Jacob Lindgren) has done and fix our players' approach. The big thing we try to do is we try to go after and try and take away some- body's fastball. We were fortunate enough to be able to do that a couple of times this weekend. So we'll try to do the same thing with him. The whole key with us is that we study the pitcher. If the pitcher is a ‘swing and miss guy' then we try to take him down collectively because you're not going to take a guy like that down by yourself, it's going to take all nine of the guys with a good approach to be able to take a guy like that down. We'll have to change our approach according to who ever takes the mound tomorrow."
Louisiana Second Baseman Jace Conrad Quotes
On his performance at the plate in the day's action: "I honestly don't know what it was. I didn't have too hot of a game the previous two games, I left some runners on base and didn't help my team a good chance to win, especially the first game. I was just trying to come out today and have some fun and try and put up some runs for us. Our hitters did a great job today. Our pitchers did a great job. As a team we executed just about as good as you can. It's time to get ready for tomorrow."
On now being one game away from battling through loser's bracket: "Today's over with. We're concentrat- ing on tomorrow. As for Friday's game, we didn't come out ready to play. We talked about it and it reminded us a lot of opening night...we just came out too amped up, kind of underestimating our opponent not think- ing that they could beat us, but we definitely could have come out and put up more runs than zero. At the same time that's baseball, you're going to have that from time-to-time. We were foruntate enough today to come out and get two wins. We're going to move onto tomorrow and try to finish this thing out."
Louisiana Pitcher Cody Boutte Quotes
On bouncing back from critical third inning after Mississippi State scored three runs: "This game is all about pushes. Who can make the biggest push. Once that inning happened I got into the dugout and real- ized that's probably going to be their one big push and I've got to come back and throw up some zeroes and let my hitters keep doing their job. You don't know how easy it is to throw right behind 14 runs and all you have to do is throw strikes. All the credit goes to my hitters. They did a phenomenal job and it's extremely easy to throw behind 14 runs. Austin (Robichaux) threw a phenomenal game and gave up one run and I had 14. My hitters came with it today and I'm grateful for that."
Louisiana Outfielder Seth Harrison Quotes
On how much the bats carried over from the day's first game: "From the first game to the second game... after the first game ended we were done with it, we were concentrating on Mississippi State. We knew the guy that they were throwing was the same type of guy that Jackson State threw the first game so we had a pretty good idea what our approach needed to be. We just wanted to come and show them whose field this is and whose home it is and we gave it to them tonight."