JONESBORO, Ark. — Louisiana-Lafayette scored six unanswered runs in the late innings Friday night, but its rally came up a run short in a 7-6 loss to Arkansas State in the series opener at Tomlinson Stadium, snapping the the Ragin’ Cajuns’ four-game win streak.
For the first time this season, the Cajuns (16-10, 6-4 Sun Belt) dropped a game in which they out-hit their opponent.
UL-Lafayette outhit Arkansas State 11-9. The Cajuns were led by Kyle Clement and Steven Sensley, who had three hits apiece. Senior Brian Mills drove in two runs on the night.
Still, the Cajuns could’ve had more, coach Tony Robichaux said.
“We’ve got to do a better job with two outs (at) the plate,” Robichaux said. “We didn’t capitalize on some opportunities early in the game, and that’s the reason why our five-run inning wasn’t relevant. You can’t wait to score until the sixth inning, and you can’t wait until they load the bases. But our hitters did do a good job of not dying and battling till the end.”
Sophomore left-hander Gunner Leger (3-2) gave up five runs on five hits with three walks and two strikeouts in four innings.
Will Bacon and Jevin Huval combined to toss two scoreless innings in relief.
Tyler Zuber (3-2) picked up the win for Arkansas State (13-12, 4-6) despite giving up five runs on seven hits. He had five walks and four strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
ASU closer Tanner Ring notched his third save, holding the Cajuns scoreless over the final two innings with a walk and a strikeout.
Arkansas State jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Tanner Ring gave the Red Wolves a 1-0 edge on a two-out single up the middle. In the next at-bat, Matt Burgess delivered a three-run homer to left field on the first pitch he saw from Leger.
The Red Wolves tacked on a run in the bottom of the fourth, then extended the lead to 7-0 in the fifth on an RBI triple by Joe Schrimpf and a safety squeeze by Frankie Alvarez.
The Ragin’ Cajuns exploded for five runs on five hits and an ASU error in the top of the sixth to cut the Red Wolves’ advantage to 7-5.
Sensley pulled UL-Lafayette to within a run in the top of the seventh singling, Clement home from second to make the score 7-6.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ best chance to tie the game came in the top of the ninth when Trosclair came up just inches short of his fourth home run of the year. Tony Ortiz made a tough grab at the top of the fence in left for the first out of the inning.
The Cajuns and Red Wolves play again at 4 p.m. Saturday. Sophomore right-hander Wyatt Marks (2-2, 4.85) starts for UL-Lafayette. ASU will counter with right-hander Adam Grantham (1-2, 4.45).