HOUSTON — For the second time in as many days, the Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team saw some poor defensive play from its shortstop at the worst time.
This time, the Ragin’ Cajuns were done in by some indecision by freshman Hunter Kasuls in the ninth inning and an error by his replacement, Brad Antchak, in the 10th inning of a 5-3 loss to Texas Tech in Minute Maid Park.
Kasuls also had a crucial error in the fourth inning of the Cajuns’ 7-1 loss here Friday to TCU.
It was the third consecutive loss for the Cajuns. And unlike the first two, this was one they had a chance to win in the final inning.
“We played well up to that point,” coach Tony Robichaux said. “Again, we had one inning that we didn’t play the way we needed to play — and that comes back to haunt you. The bottom line is we got great starting pitching, a freshman came in behind him against a good team and held them down, we got our closer into the ballgame when we needed to get him into the ballgame and we just didn’t make one to two critical plays at the critical time of the game.”
With closer Dylan Moore (0-1) on the mound, the Cajuns (3-3) entered the ninth inning with a 3-2 lead on the Red Raiders (6-1). He had to work hard just to limit the damage to one run.
Texas Tech’s Tyler Neslony led off with a blooper to center field that Kyle Clement was not able to haul in with a diving attempt. Neslony took off for second when the ball bounced away from Clement, and Kasuls had a chance to tag him out at the bag but dropped the ball when transferring it to his glove.
A bunt single and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out. After Moore struck out Michael Davis looking, No. 9 hitter Tyler Floyd came to the plate and hit the ball right at Kasuls.
With the runner at third breaking for home on contact, Kasuls looked to third base before deciding to try for the out at first. His throw was late, leaving the bases loaded with one out in a tie game.
Moore was able to get out of that trouble with a strikeout and a fine play in right field by defensive replacement Derek Herrington, but he wouldn’t be able to work around it in the next inning.
With two outs and a runner on first base, pinch hitter Zach Davis hit what should have been an inning-ending ground ball to Antchak, but he couldn’t field it cleanly, putting runners at the corners.
“Those guys, they’re very good, and I don’t think they know it yet,” second baseman Brenn Conrad said. “I don’t think it’s in their head yet. But I think the more games, the more at-bats, the more plays they get throughout the season, the more comfortable they’re going to get.”
Assistant coach Anthony Babineaux, who took over as head coach following Robichaux’s fourth-inning ejection, called for right-hander Jevin Huval to replace Moore, who had thrown 49 pitches. Huval’s first pitch was sent into right field by Ryan Long for a two-run double.
“We’ve got to eliminate the mistakes,” Cajuns third baseman Joe Robbins said. “It’s just the little things we’ve got to work on: coming through a ball, making a play on a bunt. Every mistake counts, and we found that out today.”
The Cajuns brought the tying run to the plate twice in the 10th, and Stefan Trosclair came about seven or eight feet away from tying the game with a two-run homer, but the ball was hauled in at the warning track.
The Cajuns got a great game from Robbins, who went 3-for-4 with a walk and a sixth-inning, game-tying home run to left field. It was Robbins’ second homer of the season.
The Cajuns also got some standout efforts from Wyatt Marks and Hogan Harris, who combined to strike out 10 in 7.2 innings. Harris struck out five of the seven batters he faced, and Marks struck out four of the first six he faced.
The Cajuns will look to end their losing skid at 6 p.m. Sunday against Rice in the final game of the Houston College Classic.
“Every year is a new year. This team has to learn how to win,” Robichaux said. “Right here was a winnable game, and we didn’t get it done. We’ve got to get back out here tomorrow, continue to grow, continue to learn how to finish now.”