It wasn’t necessarily the score that had Louisiana-Lafayette baseball coach Tony Robichaux upset after his team dropped an 8-5 decision to LSU on Tuesday night in the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic at Zephyr Field in Metairie. It was the way his team got to that point.
After the game, Robichaux made it clear that he was not pleased with his team’s defensive effort in support of pitcher Evan Guillory as the Ragin’ Cajuns (12-9) lost their third consecutive game.
“What killed us was the five unearned runs,” Robichaux said. “That’s it. You’ve got to come in here and play defense. You can’t come in here and spot people runs. (It) blew out the rhythm of our starter, made him throw 25 or 26 extra pitches. That guy (Guillory) could’ve went seven innings tonight, but you’ve got to play defense.”
The Cajuns committed four errors, including a crucial one in the fourth inning that sparked a three-run rally.
LSU was leading 2-1 in the fourth when Tigers third baseman Greg Deichmann rolled into what looked to be a potential inning-ending double play. Cajuns second baseman Stefan Trosclair charged the ball and fielded it a few feet to his side of the bag, and shortstop Hunter Kasuls was there waiting for the ball.
Maybe Trosclair was too close. Kasuls never looked like he got a good read on the flip and he dropped the ball, keeping the inning alive. Two of the next three batters singled to extend LSU’s lead to 5-1.
Kasuls was charged with the error — the official scorer ruled it that way because he tried to grab the ball with his bare hand — but Trosclair took responsibility after the game.
“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “It was a bad flip.”
The Cajuns had an answer in the top of the fifth. Nick Thurman led off with an opposite-field double, then wheeled around to score when Alex Pinero legged out an infield single and a late throw from Deichmann skipped too low for Bryce Jordan to handle at first base.
After a base hit and a couple of easy outs, Steven Sensley came to the plate with two on and two outs. He fouled off numerous pitches before launching a 3-2 offering from Russell Reynolds well over the fence in right field for a three-run homer that tied the score at 5.
Once again, LSU was ready with the answer immediately.
Robichaux decided to leave Guillory in the game to start the fifth and face the top of the LSU order, and the first two hitters, Kramer Robertson and Jake Fraley, left him with some familiar welts.
Robertson lined a double down the left-field line, and Fraley followed with a double of his own to score Robertson and chase Guillory. It was the second time in the game that the pair combined to score a run with back-to-back doubles.
The Tigers switched to small ball after that, getting a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly in their next two at-bats to score Fraley, then tacked on one more run when a Brenn Conrad throwing error kept the inning alive for a Deichmann RBI single.
“We gave them stuff with errors,” Robichaux said. “You can’t give good teams errors. You can’t give good teams extra chances. We gave them too many extra chances. If you’re going to come out and only get six hits, you’ve got to play defense, man.
“We don’t have the firepower to come back. We don’t have the firepower to overcome errors. We’ve got to pitch and play defense. If we don’t, we’re not going to win.”
This time, the Cajuns would not have an answer to the answer. LSU pitchers retired all 13 batters they faced after Sensley’s homer.
The Cajuns open a three-game home series against Georgia State on Thursday.