Cajuns Split Doubleheader Against Texas State
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns split their doubleheader on Saturday against Texas State, using great pitching to win game one 9-0 but failing to get the offense going in the 6-2 series finale loss.
Louisiana is now 23-20 overall and 9-9 in Sun Belt Conference play. The Cajuns are 1-3 on their eight-game homestand. It is their third-straight conference series loss.
Connor Cooke and the Cajuns offense got Louisiana off to a good start with a 9-0 shutout in the first game of the doubleheader.
Cooke dominated the Bobcats. In seven scoreless innings, he allowed only four hits and two walks while striking out nine. He earned the win to improve to 5-2 this season.
Associate head coach Anthony Babineaux praised the Cajuns starter.
"He gets better and better each week," Babineaux said. "We asked him to give us a great start, and he gave us more than that."
Carson Roccaforte brought in the first run of the game for Louisiana in the fourth inning. After an error and double had put two runners on base, a RBI-groundout was all Roccaforte needed to break the scoreless tie.
Cajuns shortstop Bobby Lada broke an extended hitless streak in style with a solo home run in the fifth inning to extend the Cajuns lead to 2-0.
With how Cooke was pitching, that was all Louisiana needed. However, in the seventh inning, the Cajuns got three two-out RBI-singles to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
Brandon Talley took over for Cooke in relief, and he sealed the shutout with two scoreless innings. In the eighth inning, the Cajuns bats got three more two-out RBI-hits, plating four runs and sealing a 9-0 shutout victory.
Louisiana was 9-16 with two outs in the game two victory, and seven of their nine runs scored came with two outs.
Babineaux said the pitching decisions were easy for the staff in the first game of the doubleheader because of how the offense was clicking.
"The decisions were easy at the end because the offense came through today," Babineaux said. "Give them credit. They swung the bats freely with no fear of failure."
The Cajuns offense cooled down in the series finale.
The Bobcats, who had a total of five hits in game one of the doubleheader, started the second game with three hits off of starting pitcher Austin Perrin, including a two-out double to jump out in front 1-0.
Lada answered in the bottom of the third with his second solo home run of the day to tie the game.
Texas State recorded another two-out rally in the top of the fourth, using two two-out RBI-hits to take a 3-1 lead. In the bottom half of the fifth inning, the Cajuns had runners at the corners with one out, but an attempted hit-and-run turned into a double-steal and a runner was called out at home. A groundout ended a good scoring chance for the offense.
The Bobcats instantly answered in the top of the sixth with two more runs to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Tyler Robertson hit a RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth, and Louisiana had two runners in scoring position with two outs, but, once again, a groundout ended their opportunity to get back into the game.
A solo home run by the Bobcats in the seventh inning regained the run the Cajuns offense had struggled to obtain. It ended up being the final run scored in the 6-2 loss.
Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs said a big reason for the series loss was two-out hitting, but he liked the defense that the Cajuns played and thinks that there are still opportunities for this team to go on a run late in the season.
"We lost the twos this weekend, that's the bottom line," Deggs said. "We've just got to keep grinding. I thought we showed a lot of flashes today."
"That 10-game winning streak is just waiting there, you've just got to take it," Deggs said.
The Cajuns have a week off before hosting North Alabama for a three-game weekend series. The first game is set for Friday at 6:00 p.m.