LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette and Texas State baseball teams engaged in a pitching duel for the second straight night, but this time the Bobcats got the upper hand as they handed the Ragin’ Cajuns a 2-1 loss Saturday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Left-hander Cory Geisler (4-1) was fantastic for the Bobcats (22-18, 10-7 Sun Belt), striking out eight in a four-hitter. Righty Wyatt Marks (3-5) was the tough-luck loser for the Cajuns (26-13, 11-6) after allowing two runs in 6.1 strong innings.
“(Marks) did everything he could to give us a chance to win,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said.
Marks and Geisler matched each other inning for inning through the first six. Marks had a perfect game going through the third, and neither allowed a run until the fifth. But the Cajuns gave the Bobcats the lead in the seventh when they uncharacteristically couldn’t find the strike zone.
Marks was pulled with one out after he gave up a single and a walk. Righty Jevin Huval allowed a single to the first batter he faced to load the bases, then walked No. 9 hitter Jacob Almendarez on five pitches to bring home the go-ahead run.
“We gave them one,” Robichaux said. “When you sit on the razor’s edge like that, you can’t give anybody a run.”
Huval got a ground ball and a strikeout to leave the bases loaded and limit the damage to one run, and he closed out the game by retiring eight straight. But it didn’t matter the way Geisler was pitching.
The senior southpaw was listed as the Bobcats’ probable Sunday starter, but he was bumped up a day — a move the Cajuns didn’t find out about until shortly before Saturday’s game.
“You’d like to know who’s pitching when you go into (batting practice) and prepare for who you’re going to pitch against, but … you’ve got to beat the guy that gets on the mound,” Robichaux said.
Geisler never allowed the Cajuns to string together more than one hit in any inning of his complete-game gem. He struck out eight and only walked two, barely giving the Cajuns a chance.
That isn’t to say the Cajuns didn’t have chances; they just didn’t cash in on them.
Brian Mills led off the first inning with a double down the right-field line, then moved to third base on a ground out. But he was caught in a rundown on Stefan Trosclair’s hard-hit ground ball to third base.
“You’ve got to go get that run in, get ahead and let your pitching staff settle in,” Robichaux said.
The Cajuns might have been able to put a crooked number on the board in the fifth when Joe Robbins led off by reaching on an error and Steven Sensley followed with a single. Izzy Edwards then hit a fly ball to shallow right that looked like it was going to drop for a single, but Theodore Hoffman made a fantastic diving catch.
Robbins scored on the play, but it killed the Cajuns’ momentum. Geisler recorded a pair of easy outs to get out of the inning.
The Cajuns got a runner to third base in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings but were never able to find the big hit to bring him home.
Kyle Clement might have given the Cajuns the best shot at bringing home the tying run in the ninth when he led off with an opposite-field single and moved into scoring position on Robbins’ sacrifice bunt, but Sensley flew out to right and Edwards struck out to end the game.
“We just couldn’t drive in a run when we had a chance to drive in a run,” Robichaux said.
Freshman right-hander Nick Lee will get the call for the Cajuns as they go for the series win at 1 p.m. Sunday. Texas State has not named a starter for the finale.
“We can’t let this carry over into tomorrow,” Robichaux said. “We’ve got to flush it and come back out to work tomorrow.”