Small ball leads Cajuns past Appalachian State 4-1 for series victory _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Hunter Kasuls watches the ball after connecting for a triple against Appalachian State in an NCAA baseball game Sunday, May 8, 2016, at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette, La.

With South Alabama losing two of three to Georgia Southern in Mobile, Alabama, it was crucial for the Cajuns to take care of business against an Appalachian State team that came to town with the worst overall record in the league. While it wasn’t always pretty, the Cajuns did what they had to do, winning two out of three to set up a huge showdown next weekend against the Jaguars. As has been the case for much of this season, the Cajuns did it largely with their arms, limiting the Mountaineers to one combined run in the two games they won.

THREE UP

BOUNCE-BACK EFFORT

The Cajuns’ starting pitchers have been so reliable all season, it was odd to see them have a bit of a hiccup last weekend againt UT-Arlington. It was right back to normal for Gunner Leger, Wyatt Marks and Nick Lee this weekend. Their combined line: 18 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 20 K. Ho hum.

SPEAKING OF STARTERS

Evan Guillory, the other Cajuns starter, made his first weekend appearance of the season this year. It was also his first relief appearance of his career. If he was uncomfortable coming in out of the bullpen, he didn’t look like it. Guillory faced 12 batters Friday night and struck out seven of them in three scoreless innings.

WHEN THE DOOR OPENS...

Mired in an awful hitting slump, Brad Antchak started Friday’s game on the bench in favor of freshman Hunter Kasuls. But he quickly found his way back into the lineup after Joe Robbins left with wrist soreness Friday, and he responded with hits in all three games — none bigger than his two-run single in the eighth Sunday.

THREE DOWN

MOOD SWINGS

The inconsistency of the Cajuns lineup has to be a major concern for Tony Robichaux with the postseason approaching. Eight of the Cajuns’ 12 runs this weekend came in two big innings, and they were mostly shut down for the other 23. It will be very hard to win a regional, much less a super regional, with offense like that.

DON’T CHASE FIRST-PITCH BALLS

This didn’t end up hurting the Cajuns on Sunday, but Robichaux might’ve cringed when he saw Kasuls (who had a nice weekend at the plate otherwise) swing at the first pitch he saw with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh inning. Kasuls flew out to foul territory, and the Cajuns didn’t score.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

For the second straight home start, Wyatt Marks was fantastic. For the second straight home start, Marks ended up on the losing side of the ledger. Robichaux doesn’t care about win-loss records for his pitchers, but he’d like to see his sophomore right-hander get some confidence heading into the postseason.

THE LIGHTER SIDE

CRAZY $TAT OF THE WEEKEND I

$24,590 — The Cajuns raised nearly $25,000 for their program in the first two days auctioning off the commemorative uniforms they wore to honor Ron Guidry on Friday.

CRAZY $TAT OF THE WEEKEND II

$3,400 — That’s $100 for each strikeout, donated by Our Lady of Lourdes to the American Stroke Foundation as part of Strikeout A Stroke weekend.

Press-box food consumed

If you haven’t tried it yet, the chicken and sausage gumbo from Jambalaya Shoppe (operated by former Cajuns baseballer Brad Topham) is out of this world.