It was a beautiful Friday night in Acadiana, and that can only mean one thing: Ragin Cajuns baseball. Louisiana and Georgia Southern battled it out at “The Tigue” in a Sun Belt conference series. Home runs from Max Marusak and Kyle DeBarge were the difference as the Cajuns took down the Eagles, 6-3.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
It was a solid start for the Cajuns in this game, as Louisiana starting pitcher Brandon Talley would retire the Eagles in order to begin the contest. In the bottom half of the opening frame, Max Marusak would take the first pitch to the scoreboard to give the Cajuns an early 1-0 lead. The next batter, Tyler Robertson, would single past the shortstop and then would advance to second on a balk by Jaylen Paden, but that would be it for Louisiana in the 1st.
Austin Thompson opened Georgia Southern’s 3rd inning with a triple to the centerfield gap, a ball that Max Marusak leapt for and missed. Thompson was sent home two batters later on a Jesse Sherrill sacrifice bunt to level the score at 1-1. Louisiana was able to get out of the inning with the score still even after a double play that was scored 8-4 (Center field to 2nd). Robertson would get on for the Cajuns in the bottom of the 3rd, reaching on a walk. He would then steal his 7th bag of the year before Kyle DeBarge hit a moonshot to the scoreboard again to increase Louisiana’s lead to 3-1 early. Next batter was Mr Reliable, Carson Roccaforte, who walked and then stole second for his 9th steal of the year. Roccaforte would take third on an errant throw trying to throw him out for stealing second, but would get stranded there after a popout to right to end the inning.
Christian Avant would open the 4th for Georgia Southern by singling to left center, but after a fielders choice and a flyout to Marusak leaves the Eagles empty handed. In the bottom of the 4th, Warnner Rincones was hit by a pitch to put a runner on 1st for Louisiana. Bobby Lada would single next up, but Rincones was thrown out at 3rd to end the inning.
In the 5th, Brandon Talley kept on rolling, retiring the side for the 2nd time in the contest. Marusak would lead off the Cajuns’ 5th with a walk and get thrown out by Paden. Louisiana would go down in order after that to leave it 3-1 Cajuns through five.
Jason Swan would begin the action in the 6th with a single up the middle and would then advance to 3rd on a Avant hit-and-run single past DeBarge. Swan would score on the sacrifice by Ledford to make 3-2 Louisiana. In the bottom half, Marusak would reach on a walk and then advance to 2nd on a wild pitch by Jaylen Paden. However, the inning would end there after a Julian Brock flyout to right with the Cajuns holding a one-run advantage.
New pitcher for the Cajuns was Hayden Durke, who replaced Talley after 5.2 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Durke would make light work of Georgia Southern in the 7th, retiring the side in order. Louisiana would go quietly in the bottom of the inning, as new pitcher for the Eagles Ben Johnson retired the Cajuns in order, going groundout, strikeout, and strikeout.
Parker Biederer would begin the 8th for the Eagles with a single and would later score on a RBI double by Jason Swan to knot the game up at 3. After a Christian Avant HBP, Noah Ledford strikes out and Swan would get putout trying to take 3rd to keep it tied at 3-3. In the bottom half, Robertson would get hit by a pitch from new Georgia Southern pitcher Jay Thompson and would advance on the sacrifice bunt from DeBarge. Roberston would come around to score on a single by…you guessed it, Carson Roccaforte, who would later score on a RBI single from Heath Hood. Hood would score from first after an outfield error on a Julian Brock popup. Warnner Rincones would end the inning with a strikeout.
Chipper Menard would come in to close the game out, and did it in solid fashion. The New Iberia product got Georgia Southern to flyout to right and then get a strikeout and a groundout to secure the victory.
BIG NUMBER: 2
2 homeruns by Max Marusak and Kyle DeBarge prove to be the difference in tonight’s game. The 2 bombs scored 3 of Louisiana’s 6 runs in the contest.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kyle DeBarge
The freshman from Kinder proved to be a key piece of the offense again tonight for Louisiana, going 1-3 with the 2-run HR he hit in the 3rd.
UP NEXT: Louisiana (13-12, 3-4 SBC) and Georgia Southern (17-9, 5-2 SBC) will return to ML Tigue Moore Field at Russo Park tomorrow at 4pm for game two of this Sun Belt Series.