Feb 15, 2013 11:46 PM by UL Sports Information
The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team plated seven runs in the sixth inning to distance themselves from Central Michigan on the way to a 12-6 win in the 2013 season opener in front of 2,209 on a chilly Friday evening at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
Louisiana (1-0) was in control the entire night and with the exception of one missed pitch by Chase Traffica which allowed CMU (0-1) to knot the score in the fifth inning the outcome was never in doubt.
Traffica cruised through the Chippewas lineup scattering three hits over 4 2/3 innings and was one strike away from a clean slate through five innings until Nick Regnier belted a three-run home run over the left field wall to even the score at 3-apeice.
The Cajuns wasted little time reclaiming the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after loading the bases with a Seth Harrison double and back-to-back walks in succession. Following a CMU pitching change, Louisiana scored runs off a Blake Louscher wild pitch and Tyler Huntey passed ball to jump ahead 5-3.
In their next at bat, the Cajuns unloaded on CMU reliever Joe Ucho for seven runs on six hits to bury the visitors. Louisiana produced four doubles in the sixth inning - two from Dylan Butler whose second extra bagger of the frame was the final blow as it added the final three runs and upped the lead to 12-3.
The two teams continue the season-opening series with a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. The second game of the twinbill will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Cody Boutte is slated to start the front-end of the doubleheader for Louisiana while Austin Robichaux is penciled in as the back-end starter.
Butler and Michael Strentz paced the Cajuns offense with three RBI apiece. Seth Harrison, a junior college transfer from Hill College, had a successful debut finishing 4-for-6 with three runs scored.
All but three of the Cajuns starters collected a hit which led to a 14-hit outburst.
Cord Cockrell was the winning pitcher after taking over for Traffica, who reached his pitch limit, in the fifth inning. Cockrell registered the final out of the fifth inning, then retired seven straight Chippewas hitters before a couple of late tallies helped CMU close the deficit to six runs.
"I thought what we did is what we have been seeing throughout the fall and early spring. We were able to swing the bat well and play good defense," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "I think we will go as far as we can pitch. We have to keep working because that is where our inexperience is.
"Chase threw a great ball game for us and if it wasn't for a hanging breaking ball he would have held them scoreless."
Matt Trowbridge was charged with the loss for CMU, allowing five runs (four earned) over four innings. Trowbridge kept the Chippewas in the contest holding Louisiana to three runs until surrendering the leadoff double and consecutive walks to start the fifth inning which resulted in two runs.
Regnier single-handedly provided the CMU offense, accounting for five RBI in a 3-for-5 performance.
A scoreless ball game was broken up in the Cajuns half of the second inning when LSU-Eunice transfer Sam Carriere laced a two-out RBI double down the right field line.
Harrison, who doubled twice as part of his four-hit effort, doubled and scored on a Strentz single in the third inning. UL plated an additional run when Jace Conrad scored on a passed ball for a 3-0 lead.
Traffica hit Tom Lally and walked Noel Santos which prolonged the CMU fifth inning and provided Regnier with the opportunity to catch up to the missed pitch that resulted in the game-tying home run.
BASES NOTED: Louisiana and Central Michigan met on the baseball diamond for the first time...The Cajuns improved to 29-13 in season openers since moving up to Division I in 1972 and have now won their opener 14 times in the past 16 seasons...The game marked the start of a 14-game homestand for Louisiana to begin the 2013 season...The Cajuns don't play a road contest until March 8 at Southern Miss...Chase Traffica pitched against outside competition for the first time since a relief appearance against FIU on May 28, 2011 in the Sun Belt Tournament held in Monroe...Traffica missed all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery...The night also marked the return of Michael Strentz who missed all but seven games in 2012 with Tommy John surgery...Head coach Tony Robichaux began his 19th season (1995-present) at the helm of Ragin' Cajuns baseball and 27th overall as a Division I head coach (1987-present)...Robichaux is now five (5) wins shy of 900 in his collegiate head coaching career (895-616-1).
Louisiana 12, Central Michigan 6 (Feb 15, 2013 at Lafayette, La.)
Central Michigan.... 000 030 012 - 6 10 1 (0-1)
Louisiana........... 012 027 00X - 12 14 2 (1-0)
Pitchers: Central Michigan - Trowbridge, Matt; Louscher, Blake(5); UCHO, Joe(6);
Lehnert, Taylor(6) and . Louisiana - Traffica, Chase; Cockrell, Cord(5) and .
Win-Cockrell, Cord(1-0) Loss-Trowbridge, Matt(0-1) T-3:01 A-2209
HR CMU - Regnier, Nick 2.
Weather: 64, Ptly Cldy, NNW @ 6 MPH