TROY, Ala. — Ishmael Edwards and Nick Thurman had run-scoring hits in the top of the ninth inning, and Dylan Moore tied Louisiana-Lafayette’s career record for saves, striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth as the Ragin’ Cajuns took a 4-2 win over Troy in the opener of their Sun Belt Conference baseball series Friday night.
Edwards lined a one-out double down the left-field line in the ninth, scoring Brad Antchak from second base to break a 2-2 tie. Thurman followed one batter later with a single up the middle that scored Edwards from second base.
Moore came on to pitch the ninth inning and struck out Payton Fuller, Trevor Davis and Joey Denison in quick succession for his third save of the year and the 16th of his career.
The teams will play Game 2 of the series at 3 p.m. Saturday and will wrap up the series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Gunner Leger pitched seven strong innings for UL-Lafayette (9-5, 1-0), giving up four hits and striking out eight. But a two-out homer by Fuller, his first of the year, tied the score at 2 in the sixth.
Jevin Huval (1-1) came on in the eighth and picked up the win in relief of Leger, allowing one hit.
Leger and Troy starter Grant Bennett were in a scoreless duel through five innings, with both starters facing only one batter over the minimum. The only batter from either team to get past first base was T.J. Binder, who had a one-out double in the fifth for Troy (9-7, 0-1).
The Cajuns broke through in the sixth inning off Bennett with two hits and a pair of unearned runs. Brian Mills reached on a one-out single and Brenn Conrad was hit by a pitch with two outs, and Joe Robbins’ sinking liner to right field was mishandled by Troy right fielder Joey Denison to allow Mills to score.
Stefan Trosclair was intentionally walked to load the bases and Steven Sensley delivered a two-out single to right, scoring Conrad for the 2-0 lead.
Leger got the first two outs in the bottom of that inning before Brandon Lockridge reached on a two-out single and Fuller sent a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall for the tying runs.