LAFAYETTE — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette baseball team avoided a sweep to Georgia Southern behind six strong innings from Evan Guillory and a pair of home runs in a rain-shortened, seven-inning, 5-1 win Easter Sunday.
“The good thing is that we hung on throughout this weekend and didn’t get swept. That was important for us,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said.
Both Dylan Butler and Stefan Trosclair homered for UL-Lafayette (16-13, 8-5), and Trosclair’s homer led off a three-run fifth inning that gave the Cajuns pitching staff a four-run cushion that Georgia Southern (19-14, 9-6) didn’t dent.
The game was stopped under heavy rain after lightning struck in the area in the bottom of the eighth inning at 2:48 p.m.
After a 28-minute delay with no sign of the rain slowing down, the game was called. Sunday travel restrictions dictate that no new inning can start after 3:30 p.m.
“You could be on the other side of this,” Robichaux said. “You could be sitting here like they were and have nothing to do about it. It is what it is, it’s a 3:30 drop-dead time because of their flight. We’re just fortunate that we’re not sitting here after two losses and we can’t go out and do anything about it.”
Trosclair’s solo shot to lead off the fifth, his third homer of the series, put the Cajuns ahead 3-1.
The Cajuns tacked on two more runs in the inning on a Nick Thurman squeeze bunt and Kyle Clement’s pinch-hit RBI single.
That was plenty for Guillory (3-0) and reliever Dylan Moore, who combined to limit the Eagles to one run on seven hits.
Moore picked up his fourth save.
Guillory set the tone early with a 1-2-3 first inning, which he punctuated by blowing a fastball past Georgia Southern catcher Chase Griffin.
“He set a good tempo, and from (the first inning) forward, the rest of the day kind of fell into place,” Robichaux said.
Guillory struck out six in six innings, but he had to work his way out of a couple jams.
The Eagles had the bases loaded with one out in the third after they singled and drew a pair of walks. But Guillory limited the damage to one run with a groundout and a strikeout.
Georgia Southern loaded the bases again in the fourth when the bottom three hitters of the order reached on a single, an error and a walk, all with two outs. But Guillory induced an inning-ending ground ball to second base.
Of the 18 outs Guillory recorded in the game, 14 came via ground ball or strikeout.
He has two consecutive quality starts after he was moved to the Sunday slot in the rotation.
“Sometimes you’ve got to flip their brain,” Robichaux said. “They get caught up into doing something, and all of a sudden you flip it. He picked up two extra days rest the first time we did it, so I think that gave him a little energy and helped his body, because the wear and tear on him here is way different than seven innings at Jennings High School.”
Butler’s home run, his fourth of the year, came with two outs in the second inning and gave the Cajuns an early 1-0 lead.
Shortstop Blake Trahan extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a sharp single to lead off the third inning. But perhaps more importantly, Greg Davis ended a woeful streak at the plate with an infield single in the three-run fifth inning.
Davis’ batting average plummeted 59 points while he endured a terrible slump, going 28 at bats without a hit.
The statistics from the eighth inning of Sunday’s game count toward the official season statistics, but the game was officially ruled to be completed in seven innings, since the teams did not finish the eighth inning.
The Cajuns will start a five-game week off Tuesday at home against No. 14 Houston, who dropped two of three in a weekend series against Memphis.