DECATUR, Ga. — Pitching was the catalyst for UL-Lafayette on Saturday as the Ragin’ Cajuns earned doubleheader sweep at Georgia State.
In the opener, freshman Gunner Leger allowed only one run on four hits over seven innings to help the visitors cruise to a 10-1 rout. In the second game, senior Greg Milhorn handcuffed the Panthers. The right-hander worked seven solid innings and scattered four hits with one earned run, leading the Cajuns to a 3-2 win.
“Milhorn came out and set another good tempo. We played solid defense behind him,” UL-Lafayette coach Tony Robichaux said. “The game is simple. If you pitch and play defense, you’ll be all right. With hitting, you’re going to fail 70 percent of the time. In Game 1, we hit. So that means Game 2 is probably going to be a low-scoring affair. You have to learn how to win all kind of ways. It was good we had a night-and-day situation.”
Along with its superb pitching performances, UL-Lafayette’s defense made some key plays to help clinch the sweep.
Third baseman Tyler Girouard was a force at the hot corner. The senior scooped up quick liners and displayed his laser arm to toss out runners.
In the second game, with the Ragin’ Cajuns clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Girouard showed off his quick reflexes and keen baseball intellect to get his team out of a jam.
The Panthers were poised to do some damage with runners on the corners and one out. Trae Sweeting came to plate and hit a rocket to third. Girouard fielded the ball and alertly lunged for the bag, where he caught Georgia State’s Jack Thompson napping, and tagged him for the second out.
Later, Will Johnson struck out swinging to end the inning.
In the eighth, Girouard’s defensive prowess once again rose to the forefront. Just as in the previous inning, Georgia State was threating to score with two men on base. Justin Jones hit a grounder to third, but Girouard fired a bullet to home plate. Catcher Nick Thurman tagged out Ryan Blanton, and the Cajuns’ dugout erupted in a euphoric cheer.
“The pitchers are doing a good job to keep the hitters off balance. We were in a big spot and I was able to make a play,” Girouard said. “It’s important to give our pitchers as much help as we can. If I would’ve threw it to first in the seventh, we would’ve only been up by one, and then they later hit a home run.”
Georgia State’s scores came courtesy of two solo home runs by Joey Roach in the fourth and James Clements in the ninth.
UL-Lafayette (12-8, 5-3 Sun Belt) took the series 2-1 after a series-opening loss Friday.
The schools agreed to play a doubleheader Saturday because of the threat of rain Sunday.
In Saturday’s first game, UL-Lafayette’s bats exploded with 10 runs on 13 hits. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored two runs in the third, four in the fourth and then again in the seventh in this lopsided affair.
Thurman was the offensive star of the show, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a run scored.