A Mason Katz first inning home run gave LSU (19-6) the early lead and a three-run shot from Grant Dozar in the third inning finished off the scoring for the Tigers.
Not long after Dozar’s home run a one hour, 17 minute rain delay ensued. The Ragin’ Cajuns’ bullpen was able to hold the Tigers in their tracks when play resumed, holding LSU to one hit the over the final 5 2/3 innings.
After being held hitless the first five innings, the Cajuns (13-11) broke through on the Tigers pitching staff in the sixth inning when Tyler Frederick singled up the middle with one out off of Carson Baranik.
Jace Conrad followed with a single to right field to load the bases, but Baranik struck out Dylan Butler and Chris Cotton came out of the bullpen to induce a grounder from Chase Compton which ended the threat.
UL would get only two more baserunners over the final three innings as the Tigers’ pitching staff completed the shutout.
“The one thing we didn’t do well tonight was compete at the plate. We looked at a lot of fastballs tonight,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “They got the big hit on us early and that was enough. We did scatter six hits through nine innings and that is manageable especially in this yard.
“Our bullpen really shut the faucet off and didn’t give them anything to work with. The big key is with the bases loaded we had a chance to cut their lead in half and we came away empty. With a young ball club, they could have been blown out 20-0, but they stuck with it and if we would have competed a little better at the plate, we are in this ballgame.”
Louisiana returns to Sun Belt play this weekend traveling to Boca Raton, Fla., for a series with current Sun Belt leader Florida Atlantic (16-10, 5-1 Sun Belt). The series, which runs Friday-Sunday, March 30-April, begins on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CDT).
Freshman Austin Robichaux was charged with the loss for the Cajuns, surrendering five runs (four earned) on four hits over two-plus innings of work.
Derek Howell, Cord Cockrell, Henri Faucheux and Joe Zimmermann combined for six innings of scoreless, two-hit relief for Louisiana.
The Tigers registered the game’s first run on a two-out, home run from Katz in the bottom of the first. The next two batters reached base and a throwing error by Ryan Leonards on an Austin Nola grounder led to a second run in the frame.
LSU used the home run ball to extend the lead in the third inning. Dozar followed a Katz leadoff walk and Raph Rhymes single through the left side with a home run to right field which upped the hosts lead to 5-0.
After the rain delay, Howell registered a pair of fly outs to end the Tigers’ half of the third inning. He then notched a strikeout of Ty Ross with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to prevent LSU from stretching the lead even further.
Cockrell took the mound for UL and retired the Tigers in order in the fifth and sixth inning to continue the bullpen’s stranglehold. Faucheux and Zimmermann followed with zeros in the seventh and eighth inning, respectively.
BASES NOTED: Austin Robichaux, the youngest of head coach Tony Robichaux’s children, started on the mound for Louisiana…He became the first freshman to start a game against the Tigers since Alex Fuselier toed the rubber as a rookie on March 11, 2009 – the first meeting between the two schools at The New Alex Box Stadium…The Tigers scored first, on a Mason Katz home run in the first inning, marking the fourth straight game the opposition plated the game’s first run…At 7:19 p.m., rain began falling and placed the game in a weather delay until 8:36 p.m…The loss broke the Ragin’ Cajuns’ four-game win streak in midweek games and was the first midweek loss since falling 6-5 at Southeastern Louisiana on Feb. 22…The two programs met at The New Alex Box Stadium for the fourth time and continued the trend of alternating victories since the facility opened in 2009 (UL won 10-9 in 2009; LSU won 4-3 in 2010; UL won 11-5 in 2011)…UL was shutout for the first time this season and first time since falling 3-0 to Arkansas State on May 27, 2011 at the Sun Belt Tournament in Monroe…LSU now leads the series 11-6 in the Tony Robichaux era…Cajuns pitching has held the opposition to single digit runs in 23 of 24 games, including the last eight straight since surrendering 11 runs to Southern Miss on March 11.