Louisiana used solid pitching and timely hitting to win Sunday’s series finale 6-1 at Russo Park. After dropping the first two of this series, the victory allowed the Cajuns to salvage one in the series and stay towards the top of the Sun Belt Conference standings.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
Louisiana turned to the senior right hander Cooper Rawls for his first start of the season. Rawls has been one of the more reliable members of the Cajuns’ bullpen, entering with a 1.64 ERA. His transition to the starting rotation went very well, as he held the App State lineup in check, tossing five and two-thirds scoreless innings.
The Cajun offense got on the board in the third inning thanks to some creative base running. Peyton LeJeune led off the inning with a walk. Two consecutive outs followed, but Max Marusak then singled into center field to put runners on the corners. Then, Marusak stole second and avoided the tag while LeJeune raced home to give Louisiana the 1-0 lead.
Several more zeroes were put up by both pitching staffs in the fourth and fifth innings. However, the Cajun offense broke things open in the bottom of the sixth. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Cajuns’ catcher Julian Brock. The reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week delivered with a towering grand slam to left field which made the score 5-0 in favor of the home team.
Following Rawls’ impressive start, it was Blake McGehee who came in relief. McGehee has been working his way back from injury, and this marked his first relief appearance. He went two and one third innings and was lifted in the ninth for Brendan Moody. Moody, who had a 6-0 lead after an extra insurance run had been scored, rolled a double play and then got a ground out to finish off the win for Louisiana.
BIG NUMBER: 3
Julian Brock’s grand slam was his third of the season. It gave Louisiana all the cushion it needed in this one.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cooper Rawls
Cooper Rawls was excellent in his first start of the season. The senior gave Louisiana five and two-thirds shutout innings, and allowed the Cajuns to salvage a game in this series.
UP NEXT: Louisiana will host Tulane on Tuesday, April 4th at 6:00 PM at Russo Park.