MIAMI — Cody Boutte fired a complete game five-hitter and Louisiana-Lafayette erupted for nine runs in the first four innings Saturday as the Ragin’ Cajuns dropped FIU 9-1, evening their Sun Belt Conference baseball series.
ULL (30-14, 11-9 Sun Belt), which bounced back from a 7-6 defeat in 11 innings on Friday, set up a rubber game with the Panthers (23-18, 11-9) at 9 a.m. Sunday.
On Saturday, Boutte was one out shy of a shutout as FIU scored on its second-to-last at-bat of the game.
Dex Kjerstad posted a game-high three hits for his 19th multiple-hit game of the season. Dylan Butler ripped a two-run home run and Caleb Adams hit a two-run double for the Cajuns, who are looking for their first series win over the Panthers since 2007.
Boutte threw six hitless innings en route to collecting his team-leading seventh victory.
Boutte, moved up from an expected Sunday start, started on Saturday for the first time since March 9 against Southern Miss.
In handing FIU starter Mike Franco his second defeat, the Ragin’ Cajuns piled up six runs in 2.1 innings off the Panthers’ right-handed hurler.
Two-out hitting carried ULL into the lead in the first inning. After FIU turned a double play, Tyler Girouard singled to center and advanced to third on a two-base error.
Girouard scored the game’s first run on a Franco wild pitch, and Blake Trahan scored Harrison with a single to left-center for a 2-0 lead.
In the second inning, a run-scoring single by Kjerstad and a run-scoring double from Ryan Leonards stretched the Cajuns’ lead to 4-0.
One inning later, Butler and Jace Conrad belted home runs, putting ULL ahead 7-0.
It was 7-0 in favor of the Cajuns following home runs by Butler and Jace Conrad in the third inning.
ULL added to its lead yet again in the fourth, getting a leadoff double from Tyler Girouard and a single by Seth Harrison. Adams doubled down the left-field line, scoring Girouard and Adams.
Boutte took his shutout into the ninth, but he isued a pair of walks, and Roche Woodard later doubled drive home the Panthers’ lone run.
A day after going 2-for-18, the Cajuns’ Nos. 1-4 hitters were a collective 8-for-18.