MOBILE, Ala. — The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team defeated South Alabama 5-2 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday to claim the Sun Belt Conference regular-season title.
The title is the fifth in program history and first since 2010. The Ragin’ Cajuns also won regular-season championships in 1997, 2005 and 2007 and were division champs in 1992 and 1994.
The Cajuns will be the top seed in the conference tournament, which runs May 21-25 in Mobile.
The Cajuns added an 8-7 win in the nightcap to improve to 45-7 and 22-4 in conference play, running their nation’s best road record to 21-2. South Alabama fell to 21-28 overall and 10-15 in league action.
Junior Austin Robichaux picked up the Game 1 victory to go to 7-2, holding the Jaguars to two unearned runs and three hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Ryan Wilson, who started the game in right field, came on in relief in the eighth to get a six-out save, throwing two scoreless innings. Wilson recorded his sixth save in the outing, which tied Reagan Bazar for the team lead.
USA starter Locke St. John suffered his second loss of the season after surrendering five runs (four earned) on eight hits in seven innings.
Blake Trahan, Caleb Adams and Jace Conrad each had two hits in the contest as UL-Lafayette registered eight hits. Ryan Leonards had a game-high two RBI.
The Cajuns went in front 1-0 in the second as Adams scored on a wild pitch by St. John. Adams doubled to lead off the inning and then moved to third on a bunt single by Conrad.
South Alabama grabbed a 2-1 lead in the on a bases-loaded two-run single up the middle by Andrew Tindell.
UL-Lafayeatte regained the lead in the top of the third. After a Trahan double led off the inning, Leonards singled up the middle to score Trahan to tie it. Later in the inning, Adams doubled to right-center to score Leonards and give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 3-2 edge.
In the fourth, Trahan singled in Michael Strentz to give the Cajuns a 4-2 lead. Leonards brought home the final run on a sac fly to right center.
In the nightcap, Greg Davis’ ninth-inning single scored Seth Harrison to break a 7-7 tie. Davis and Conrad each homered; Davis’ shot was a grand slam. Combined, they went 6-of-8 with seven RBIs and four runs.
The teams cap their three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.