LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team showed what it could do when all cylinders are firing Friday night against Sacred Heart.
The Ragin’ Cajuns pounded eight runs on 12 hits and played error-free defense behind excellent pitching as they put together one of their best games of the young season in an 8-0, series-opening shutout of Sacred Heart at Moore Field.
The trick becomes doing something similar on a consistent basis.
“We were able to do all three,” coach Tony Robichaux said. “What we’ve got to do now is get back out here and … be the same club tomorrow.”
The batting order might’ve been the most in need of a night like Friday after picking up just five hits and one run in a midweek loss to McNeese State. They got started early Friday.
“You don’t want to get behind the 8 ball too much when you drop a game. You want to try to be able to let losses go and move on,” Robichaux said. “They did a good job being able to do that tonight.”
The Cajuns (6-4) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when Joe Robbins scored Hunter Kasuls with an RBI single, extending his hitting streak to a career-best nine games.
They didn’t wait long to pile on.
Nick Thurman hit a booming double off the base of the right-field wall with one out in the fourth inning, starting a hit parade off Sacred Heart right-hander James Cooksey (0-2).
Seven of the next eight batters reached base on Cooksey in a five-run fourth inning, and the only one who did not reach was Robbins, who came about 5 feet short of a three-run homer to left-center.
Senior second baseman Stefan Trosclair, the ninth hitter the Cajuns brought to the plate in the inning, delivered the biggest blow with a bases-loaded double to the right-center field gap that scored two to make the deficit 6-0 for Sacred Heart (0-4).
That extended Trosclair’s hitting streak to six games, and his batting average crept above the Mendoza line for the first time this season.
“I feel good. I feel like I’m in my routine,” Trosclair said. “I’m going to keep going out there, keep doing what I do, stay being me. It’ll all work out in the end.”
That was plenty of support for Cajuns southpaw Gunner Leger (1-1), who was solid in six scoreless innings. And when he did get in trouble, he was even better.
The Pioneers brought five batters to the plate with runners in scoring position against Leger, and Leger retired all five, including three by strikeout.
Sacred Heart’s Alex Perry, the No. 9 hitter, connected on a double down the left-field line with one out in the third, but Leger induced a pair of harmless fly balls to end the inning.
The Pioneers threatened again in the sixth when leadoff hitter Jayson Sullivan drew a one-out walk, and JesusMedina followed with a double to put runners at second and third with one out.
But Leger once again found his pitches when he needed them. Zack Short watched a beauty of a 3-2 changeup go by for strike three, and Victor Sorrento struck out swinging to end the inning.
“He made that big pitch right at the end to really shut the door,” Robichaux said. “That was their push, and he held their push off.”
Leger handed the ball over to junior Jevin Huval, who was the first of three Cajuns relievers to fire consecutive perfect innings to end the game.
Sophomore Wyatt Marks will get the ball Saturday as the Cajuns go for the series win.