SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Louisiana-Lafayette won a lot of baseball games last season even when they gave up a number of runs.
The Ragin’ Cajuns may not have that luxury this year, if Friday night’s opener is any indication.
Texas-San Antonio pushed across five runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and then tagged on two more insurance runs in taking an 8-5 win in the opener of a three-game weekend series at Roadrunner Field.
“The bottom line is we have to pitch better,” said Cajun coach Tony Robichaux after UTSA (1-0) scored in five different innings and had two homers in an 11-hit attack. “We have to get better and keep weathering these young arms. We knew going in that was our big issue.”
The Cajuns (0-1), coming off last year’s 58-10 season that included hosting the NCAA Regional and Super Regional rounds, twice came back from early deficits but didn’t get a runner past second base in the final three innings.
“Five runs, and 12 hits, that’s really enough to win a game,” Robichaux said. “Last year’s team could get away with things here and there because of the firepower they had. Here, we’re going to have to work to play good solid baseball because this is a different team.”
Sophomore Chris Charpentier (0-1) was tagged with the loss and gave up the two homers, a leadoff shot in the first inning by Kevin Markham and a two-run homer by John Bormann in the fourth. After both homers, though, UL-Lafayette came back to take the lead with two runs in both the third and fifth innings.
After Markham’s first-inning shot, Blake Trahan and Greg Davis had third inning singles to push across a tying run, and Davis scored when Tyler Girouard’s two-out ground ball was booted by first baseman Ben Brookover.
Bormann’s homer scored Horacio Correa in the fourth before Charpentier pitched out of trouble to end that inning, and the Cajuns made it 4-3 on singles by Brenn Conrad and Davis, an RBI ground ball from Girouard and a Kyle Clement RBI single.
Moments later, though, UTSA used three hits, a walk and a wild pitch to push across three runs, all with two outs. Charpentier gave up back-to-back hits to C. J. Pickering and Trent Bowles to lead off the inning, and Correa’s ground ball and the second of Bormann’s three hits plated the go-ahead runs.
The Cajuns used five pitchers and four of them allowed runs, as the Roadrunners had 10 of their 11 hits in the final five innings.
“That’s our toughest challenge with losing so many good arms,” Robichaux said. “We have to have our guys get out there and pitch good in traffic, our situational guys really need to get in there and get their jobs done.”
The Cajuns actually lost their opener for the second straight year, losing a 1-0 opener at home to Eastern Illinois last February before winning 10 in a row and 24 of their next 25.
Davis had three hits and scored twice while Trahan and Nick Thurman each had two hits. Thurman scored on a two-out single by pinch hitter Kennan Fontenot in the sixth to cut the difference to 6-5 before the hosts added the two insurance runs after leadoff hits.
“We gave up four leadoff hits and had two leadoff walks,” Robichaux said. “We’ve got to take away those little things that can lead to damage because we don’t have the firepower we had last year.”
The middle game of the series is set for 2 p.m. Saturday with freshman righthander Evan Guillory getting his first start against UTSA ace lefthander Nolan Trabanino. The series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.