May 31, 2014 10:56 PM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - The top-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team bounced back from a tough loss yesterday to roll to 9-2 win over San Diego State in an elimination game on Saturday at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field in the Lafayette Regional.
Louisiana moves to 54-8 overall with the win and will face the loser of the Jackson State/Mississippi State winner's bracket game tomorrow at 1 p.m. in another elimination game at "the Tigue". SDSU closes out their season with a 42-21 record.
"We got a microcosm of last night's game," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "We pitched, played defense and got timely hitting - that's the only thing we didn't do last night - so tonight we feel a lot better about ourselves because we've won because we got timely hitting."
Junoir Carson Baranik notched his 11th win of the season limiting the Aztecs to two runs on six hits in 6.1 innings with a strikeout. Senior Matt Plitt was solid in relief throwing 2.2 scoreless innings with a strikeout.
"Carson got us off to a good start and Carson pitched liked Carson's capable of pitching," Robichaux added. "He stood up and ate up some innings in some heat and gave our hitters a chance to settle in. From there we just played super defense. I might still be pitching if I had Ryan (Leonards) at third base for me. Ryan did a great job today, he played great defense. Blake Trahan made some phenomenal plays. And that's our M.O., is to try to pitch and play defense and get timely hitting."
Centerfielder Seth Harrison and shortstop Blake Trahan each had three hits in the game as all but one starter posted a hit in the contest. Harrison had a triple, walked, scored twice and drove in two runs. With the two RBI, Harrison now has 60 on the year and is the first Ragin' Cajuns player to post 60-plus RBI in a season since Jonathan Lucroy had 68 in both 2006 and 2007. Michael Strentz had a game-high thee RBI in the game.
Tyler Girouard brought home the Cajuns first run of the Lafayette Regional on a two-out single up the middle scoring Ryan Leonards from third. Leonards singled on the first pitch of the game and then moved to third on a Jace Conrad single.
In the bottom half of the first, Harrison kept the Aztecs off the board as he gunned down Tim Zier at the plate on a one-out single up the middle by Ty France.
Strentz extended the Ragin' Cajuns advantage to 4-0 in the top of the second on a two-out, three-run blast to left field. The home run is the 10th of the season for Strentz. Later in the inning, Trahan singled through the left side of the infield to score Leonards from second.
The Aztecs got on the board in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI triple to right center by Brad Haynal to make the score 5-1.
Louisiana added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth on RBI triple to left center by Harrison and a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Dylan Butler.
Greg Allen drove in the second run of the game for SDSU in the bottom half of the fifth bringing home Ryan Muno on a ground ball hit to short to cut the Ragin' Cajuns advantage to 7-2.
The Cajuns plated a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Caleb Adams drove in the first run of the inning on a single through the left side to score Trahan. After a Chase Compton walk loaded the bases, Harrison brought home another run on a bunt single to make the score 9-2.
The Ragin' Cajuns starter for tomorrow's elimination game has yet to be determined. Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3.com or listen on the radio on KPEL 96.5 FM.
Carson Baranik on was his mindset going as far as he could to preserve bullpen...
"We understand the road now is not going to be as easy and we're playing to win every single game now. It's lay it all on the line now and that's what I tried to do."
Seth Harrison on breaking out of a slump and was team more aggressive after last night...
"Our aggression between last night and today didn't change. The only difference is that we had a better approach. It's always a good feeling to get some hits and score some runs. It was a good job for everyone today."
Seth Harrison on what was different about the approach...
"Yesterday we had a little bit softer pitcher and we just made sure we stayed back and hunted the monster, which is sooner in our lingo."
Carson Baranik on anything different compared to last start in Mobile...
"We stick to the week-to-week routine and it's always going to be the same. We believe that if you stick to the same routine and you do your work that you will be well prepared for your outing. This one just worked out a lot better than last time. I was able to locate the ball down more and it helped getting some offense early to help everyone settle in and gain some confidence and get going."
Ryan Leonards on the importance of key defensive plays, including ones he made...
"I think that the throw to the plate at the beginning of the game was a big momentum shifter in our direction. We had already scored and it kept them off the board then we kept adding on. Our thing is just make every routine play and if you end up diving for a ball and catching it that's better. If we just do what we are capable of then everything else will fall into place."
Carson Baranik on the importance of trying to bridge the gap to reliever Matt Plitt...
"It wasn't much of trying to bridge it as much as just try and give us a chance to win. We're trying to take one inning at a time and one game at a time. I understand that it was important with the road we face. Ei- ther way I was going to try and come out and eat up a lot of innings for our bullpen guys and just give us a chance to win."
Tony Robichaux on how using few arms thus far helping to battle out of loser's bracket...
"That's important because we've got a longer road now to travel. I think the way the season ended where we played a lot of close games and had to come from behind, including playing a 14 inning game, that all stretched our bullpen. Usually when things happen like that they happen for a reason and I think that hap- pened to set our bullpen to give them experience so now when we're going to call on them over the next two days I think there going to have a lot more experience they gathered from the last two to three weeks of the season."
Tony Robichaux on how much impact Michael Strentz's home run had on the mood of dugout...
:Going back to Seth Harrison's throw I think that was a big tempo setter for us too. That really got us going from there and the big lick that Mike got for us was huge because we came off a night where he hadn't hit. Now we not only hit, but we hit the ball out of the ballpark. That's huge for our psyche and for trying to wash off the previous night's stench."
Tony Robichaux on tweaking the lineup...
"We picked up more of a traditional pitcher and we also wanted to drop Seth Harrison a little bit and try and get him going. We got him going today and that was huge. We picked up Blake Trahan coming out of the conference tournament. You want to try to pick up guys as the weekend goes because again our M.O. early in the year was that we would eat up a lot of pitch counts when we don't have holes in our lineup. When they're not struggling they become very hard to maneuver through. We really just wanted to drop (Seth) Harrison a little bit and try to get him going and we got him back...he's a huge difference maker for us - he can do a lot of damage with his bat and with his feet. We just have to keep trying the lineup all together. (Michael) Strentz is on a roll right now which helps us at the bottom of the order. When that starts to happen they will wear you down."