Talk about just what the doctor ordered.
The UL Ragin’ Cajuns’ offense exploded for six runs in the second inning and cruised to a dominating 9-2 win over Coastal Carolina in Sun Belt Conference series opener Friday at Russo Park.
Not only did the offense shine, but ace right-hander Spencer Arrighetti also kept with the bullpen rested with yet another masterpiece. The sophomore, who began the game with a 1.01 ERA, only allowed one run on three hits, three walks and struck out 11 in 7.1 innings of work to improve to 4-1.
"I think Spence did was Spence does and that's get us off to a great start. He was pounding the strike zone with multiple pitches," UL coach Matt Deggs said. "i wanted to try to get him to a 120 to 130 pitches tonight. You can never plan on this, but my goal at the beginning of the night was I wanted him to throw a CG (complete game). I know he's got the stuff to do that every time out. I wanted to extend him just one more click. I thought he was going to do it, but then he started laboring."
Arrighetti ended up throwing 123 pitches and left the game with two runners on and the score 9-0.
"He's showing a tendency to get stronger as he goes and I thought he did that again tonight," said Deggs, who said Carter Robinson is scheduled to start Saturday's game.
The Cajuns improved to 12-10 overall and 1-0 in Sun Belt play with the win, while the Chanticleers dropped to 13-7 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Deggs unleashed a new lineup featuring Bobby Lada in the leadoff spot and Tyler Robertson down to the three hole.
"I wanted to just change it up," Deggs said. "I met with the coaching staff this morning early. Wanted to kind of give us a fresh start going into a fresh start to the season.
"If you look at the first part of the game, the top to the middle of the order did a great job of putting the ball in play tonight."
The results began modestly when Bobby Lada’s single was erased on a double play, but then UL exploded in the second inning.
Drake Osborn led off the productive frame with a double. Conner Kimple got the ball rolling with an RBI single.
It was a big night for Kimple, who threw a runner out at the plate in the top of the seventh to preserve Arrighetti’s shutout.
Two batters later, Kevin Fitzgerald delivered a two-run single to third.
"I was happy for him," Deggs said of Fitzgerald's two-run hit. "I think that was his first AB off a left-handed pitcher on the year. We really just went back to work trying to shorten up and stay inside the ball and get a good pitch over the white part of the plate and stay inside it and through it. It was just that simple. Sometimes you can just go back to third grade and just draw off third-grade logic."
Lada followed with a two-run triple to rightcenter and the rout was on.
"I look at the lineup and saw that I was first and I was like, 'OK cool'," Lada said. "It's just another spot in the lineup and just go up with the same approach I've been having with even more confidence and just try to have good at-bats for the team."
In the third, the Cajuns got three gift insurance runs on three Coastal Carolina errors to get to 9-0 after three innings.
"The coaches really challenged these kids this week to step our game up," Deggs said. "I've challenge everyone. We've underachieved our potential so far. We need to get back to the business of overachieving, because that's what Cajuns do. We overachieve."