The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns ended their incredible run in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament as they fell 6-2 to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in Sunday’s championship game. The Cajuns now await their fate, still hoping to be named an at-large team for the NCAA Baseball Regionals.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Many wondered if Southern Miss would bring back ace Tanner Hall to start this one after he pitched on Wednesday. They opted, however, to go with Niko Mazza. Mazza began things by tossing a couple of scoreless innings for the Golden Eagles.
After the incredible performance Ragin’ Cajuns’ Head Coach Matt Deggs got from his pitching staff on Saturday, he turned to Carson Fluno to start Sunday’s game. Fluno was effective for the Cajuns early on, matching Mazza with a couple of scoreless innings to start. However, the Golden Eagles got on the board first with a solo home run from Dustin Dickerson in the third inning to make it 1-0.
That early lead would not last long, as the Cajuns promptly loaded up the bases in the fourth inning. Heath Hood then delivered a two-run single to make it 2-1 Louisiana. The Cajuns then got another base hit but had Julian Brock thrown out at the plate trying to score from second.
Danny Lynch has had a decorated career against the Cajuns and the senior was not quite done hurting Louisiana on the baseball diamond. He lifted a solo home run to tie things back up at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth for Southern Miss. Carson Fluno’s outing ended after the conclusion of that inning, and the Cajuns turned it over to the bullpen after that.
Brendan Moody took over to start the fifth, and quickly gave up a run. It was Dickerson again, this time with an RBI single to make it 3-2 Southern Miss and Moody’s outing was a quick one. Steven Cash came in and quickly got Louisiana out of the jam.
The Golden Eagles got some insurance in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings. Slade Wilks hit a two-run home run that made it 5-2. Then it was Blake Johnson adding an RBI double to make the lead 6-2 heading to the final frame.
Justin Storm was magnificent out of the bullpen and the Cajuns never figured him out. He kept them off the scoreboard and secured the championship for Southern Miss with a 6-2 final score.
BIG NUMBER: 2
The Cajuns’ offense just could not get things going, scoring only two runs in the ballgame. The worn down pitching staff gave a good effort, but they just did not find enough offense.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Justin Storm
Louisiana never figured out the lefty reliever. He shut them down and helped Southern Miss secure the championship.
UP NEXT: The Cajuns will now wait on the selection committee to decide tomorrow if they are heading to Regionals or not. It will definitely be a close call, as some think they are in and some think the season has ended for the Cajuns.