LAFAYETTE — College baseball’s best power-hitting team recorded only one hit Sunday, and it came on a bunt single.
But Louisiana-Lafayette wasn’t complaining, with pitchers Cody Boutte and Ryan Wilson making a pair of unearned runs stand up in a 2-0 Sun Belt Conference victory over Texas State.
The Ragin’ Cajuns pushed across runs in the fifth and sixth innings, both times without the benefit of a hit, to take their 12th straight series victory and their 11th in 11 tries this season. UL-Lafayette (39-6, 18-3) won its seventh straight league series and maintained its four-game lead in the league standings with nine games to play.
“Those guys don’t care that we got one hit,” Cajuns associate head coach Anthony Babineaux said. “They care that we won the game, and that was good enough for today. These guys have tons of heart. They just keep coming.”
The second-ranked Cajuns bounced back from a 10-3 loss in Saturday’s middle game of the series, when head coach Tony Robichaux was ejected for arguing a call at first base. Saturday plate umpire Don Hudson filed a report that stated Robichaux had bumped him twice, meaning the coach faces an NCAA-mandated four-game suspension — two for each bump.
Video review showed only an incidental brush of arms, but Robichaux still sat out Sunday’s game pending further review. Unless overturned, Robichaux will miss a Tuesday and Wednesday home-and-home series against Southeastern Louisiana and the Friday opener of next weekend’s Sun Belt series at second-place Arkansas State.
Boutte (6-0) and Wilson combined on an eight-hitter and stranded 10 Bobcats as Texas State (24-20, 12-9) was shut out for the first time this season.
Boutte stranded four runners in scoring position, fanning three through six innings before the game was delayed for 1 hour and 45 minutes by rain and lightning. Wilson, who started the game in right field, came on after the delay and worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth for his third save.
“It was kill or be killed,” said Wilson, who also drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk in the fifth to bring home the game’s first run. “We knew we had to get the job done, no matter what.”
“Just an unbelievable performance, coming out and setting the tone and just throwing up zero after zero after zero,” Babineaux said of Boutte, who has allowed one earned run in his past 25 innings.
Boutte and Texas State starter Lucas Humpal (3-4) were locked in a scoreless duel until the bottom of the fifth, when Humpal struck out the first two hitters before plunking Chase Compton with the last of a 12-pitch at-bat. Bobcats shortstop Garrett Mattlage then threw wildly on Michael Strentz’s ground ball, and Blake Trahan drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Wilson walked on a 3-1 pitch to score Compton.
An inning later, Humpal hit leadoff hitter Jace Conrad, and one out later Humpal threw wildly to second base on Tyler Girouard’s ground ball back to the mound. That’s when umpires and UL-Lafayette officials cleared Moore Field because of lightning.
When play resumed, reliever Dylan Bein walked Dylan Butler to load the bases, and Compton put down a squeeze bunt that scored Conrad.
“(Compton) really works at bunting, ever since he got here,” Babineaux said of Compton’s third successful squeeze and the Cajuns’ sixth this season. “He gets low and his angle is always perfect.”
The Cajuns’ only hit was Girouard’s second-inning single. Humpal got the hard-luck loss with no earned runs and seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings.
Wilson hit the first batter he faced in the seventh but promptly picked Tyler Pearson off first, and he retired the next seven Bobcats before Trey Hicks drew a two-out walk in the ninth. Pearson singled and pinch hitter Cameron Friess was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Wilson got Cory Geisler to look at a game-ending third strike.
“There’s not much you can do with that pitch when it’s executed perfectly,” Babineaux said. “We really needed it right there.”