The South Alabama Jaguars put on a clinic in both the power and short games Friday at Russo Park.
The visiting Jaguars scored three runs on home runs from Wells Davis and Ethan Wilson and then three more hitting just one ball out of the outfield with expert bunting to propel South Alabama to a 9-2 road win over the UL Ragin’ Cajuns.
"The last three games, with all the injuries we have, I just think we're consistently inconsistent," UL coach Tony Robichaux said. "When that happens, you're going to make some pushes, but I don't know if you're going to make these big long-run pushes."
Entering this weekend’s series, UL was ironically outhomering the Jaguars 36-30 and had only gotten down 13 sacrifice bunts to 31 for the Cajuns.
No one witnessing Friday’s game would have guessed either of those statistics to be accurate.
Davis followed a lead-off walk by Austin Perrin in the seventh with two-run homer to rightcenter for a 2-0 lead.
It appeared the Cajuns (now 17-20, 6-7) might tie it right away in their half of the second when Orynn Veillon delivered an RBI single to left, but UL then stranded the bases loaded with one out.
"We've just got to go grab it, but right now, we're not doing that," Robichaux said. "We've got to be able to do damage when it's time to do damage. It's really simple, I'm telling you. You pitch away from the three-run inning and you've got to score in more than one inning. You've got to do damage when you can do some damage. We're doing none of that and that's what leads to losing."
The Jaguars (15-18, 5-8) made UL pay for that missed opportunity with Wilson’s solo blast in the third for a 3-1 lead.
Then USA loaded with the bases with no outs on a single, a walk and a hit batsman. After a force out at the plate, Carter Perkins’ bunt was thrown wildly, resulting in a collision with UL second baseman Hunter Kasuls, to chase all three runners home for a 6-1 lead.
"It's just a poorly pitched inning right there, but when you've only scored in four innings in you last 27 innings, you have to manage everything perfectly and that's tough to do in an imperfect game," Robichaux said. "But when you've got a guy 1-2, you can't hit him and when somebody bunts, you've got to get the out. And when they drop the squeeze down, we work on it all the time, if you can't get the out at the plate, make sure you get the out at first base and slow the inning down."
Perrin pitched into the sixth, allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits, two walks and four strikeouts to get the loss.
Veillon continued his hot bat with a solo homer in the seventh to finish 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Handsome Monica did return from his minor knee injury earlier this week and actually caught the game, going 2-for-4 with a double.
"You can't keep talking all the time about what could have been," Robichaux added. "You've got to manage what's in front of you."
The middle game of this series is now scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.
"I don't think it's fire," Robichaux said. "I think guys have lost a lot from injuries. You've got a lot of guys who are trying to fight to come back from injuries. I think they're giving us everything they can. This team has never been late to anything. We don't have trouble with this team. We don't have any internal issues with this team.
"Everybody's going to try to start figuring out all kind of scientific stuff man. It's really simple, man. You've got a lot of people to injuries. A lot of people are playing under duress and we're not doing the things we need to do."