LAFAYETTE — Eight walked batters. Three hit by pitches. Two wild pitches.
Louisiana-Lafayette coach Tony Robichaux won’t have to look much farther for reasons why his team lost 10-4 to Ole Miss on Monday in the deciding game of the best-of-three Lafayette super regional.
“You can’t have that many walks or hit batters,” Robichaux said.
The Cajuns (58-10) dropped the last two games of the super regional, back-to-back losses that kept them from a trip to the College World Series.
They’ll look back at Monday’s loss to a pitching staff — specifically a bullpen — that collapsed late and allowed a bevy of free passes.
There were 11 of them in all.
The Cajuns were playing in their home park in front of 4,295, mostly donning Lafayette gear. So why all of the missteps on the mound?
“We just didn’t pitch well,” Robichaux said. “That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to be able to make pitches when it’s time to pitch. (Ole Miss) is a good baseball team. Sometimes you can over-pitch good hitters.”
UL-Lafayette used a whopping seven pitchers after starter Cody Boutte was yanked in the fifth inning. At least five of the Cajuns’ eight pitchers issued one walk, and Matt Plitt walked three of the 11 batters he faced.
None told the tale more than reliever Chris Giffitt’s stint. He threw one pitch. He hit the batter.
“We said it before,” Robichaux said, “we’ve got to locate.”
The fifth was somewhat of an undoing. The Rebels broke a 3-3 tie, taking a 4-3 lead – one they never relinquished.
UL-Lafayette used four pitchers in the rocky fifth. The group hit two batters and walked two more.
Braxton Lee came home for the go-ahead run on Plitt’s bases-loaded wild pitch. The 2-2 pitch bounced in front of the plate and rolled between catcher Michael Strentz’s legs.
The Rebels then made it 5-3 with a two-out rally in the sixth inning. Lee drew a full-count walk, and Auston Bousfield drove him in from first base with a double scorched down the third-base line.
In the end, UL-Lafayette out-hit Ole Miss 10-9, and the Rebels made four errors.
“You don’t usually win those games,” said Ole coach Mike Bianco, a former LSU player and coach. “I thought we made the most on the opportunities.”