LAFAYETTE — Ryan Leonards’ two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the ninth inning capped a four-run rally, giving Louisiana-Lafayette a 5-4 win over Central Michigan and a sweep of their baseball doubleheader Saturday before a crowd of 1,993 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The Ragin’ Cajuns made an early three-run lead stand up in winning 5-3 in the opener, giving ULL its first 3-0 start since the 2010 season.
The Cajuns will wrap up the four-game weekend series with the Chippewas in an 11 a.m. game Sunday at Moore Field, after ULL took a 12-6 opening-night win Friday.
In the nightcap, CMU (0-3) had broken open a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth with three runs off Cajun reliever Matt Hicks (1-0), including a two-run triple by Logan Regnier and a two-out single from Jordan Adams that scored Regnier.
However, Chippewas reliever Dylan Rheault hit Michael Stretntz to lead off the bottom of the ninth and Chase Compton and Dylan Butler followed with singles to cut the margin to 4-2.
Reliever Sean Renzi (0-1) recorded two outs before Blake Trahan’s infield single loaded the bases, and a walk to Seth Harrison forced in Compton to make it 4-3. Leonard followed with a sharp single over CMU third baseman Adams, scoring Butler and Trahan with the game-winners.
The late flurries negated a pitching duel until the ninth, with ULL’s Austin Robichaux and Matt Plitt teaming to allow only a third-inning run and Chippewa starter Jordan Foley allowing five hits and fanning seven through the first seven innings.
Zach Fields’ RBI single gave CMU the early lead before Ryan Wilson’s two-out triple plated Tyler Girouard with the equalizer in the seventh.
Hicks also had a save in the first game, throwing the final two innings as he, starter Cody Boutte (1-0) and reliever Nick Zaunbrecher combined to scatter 10 hits and strike out 11.
The Cajuns took a 2-0 lead off CMU starter Pat Kaminska (0-1) in the first inning on a one-out single by Harrison, Jace Conrad’s double, Strentz’ RBI ground ball and a run-scoring double by Compton. Girouard’s leadoff homer in the second made it 3-0 before the Chippewas pushed across two runs in the fourth off Boutte on Zack Fields’ sacrifice fly and Tyler Huntey’s RBI infield single.
ULL got the eventual winning runs in the sixth inning on a rare two-run sacrifice fly. Conrad’s single and a double by Strentz put runners at second and third, and Compton followed with a towering fly ball that center fielder Nick Regnier ran down in front of the left-field wall.
Conrad scored easily, and when Regnier bobbled the ball, Strentz scored all the way from second base to make it 5-2.
Zaunbrecher struck out six in three innings of work before Hicks came on in the eighth. Fields’ double scored Adams with a solo run in that inning before Hicks retired four of the final five batters he faced.
ULL coach Tony Robichaux moved to within three wins of 900 career victories as a Division I head coach. He is now 897-616-1 in his 27th season.
The Cajuns’ doubleheader sweep came one day after their successful season opener.
Friday night, in chilly conditions, Louisiana-Lafayette scored runs in the sixth inning to pull away from Central Michigan en route to a 12-6 win in the 2013 season opener in front of 2,209 fans.