LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette’s penchant for scoring runs often and quickly was on display Saturday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
UL-Lafayette collected 10 hits and nine runs in the second inning alone, vaulting the Ragin’ Cajuns into first place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 14-6 defeat of Georgia State before 3,624 fans.
The Cajuns (21-2, 5-0) also won their 11th straight game, their longest streak since 2005.
It was the second victory for UL-Lafayette in the three-game series with GSU (10-13, 1-4). The teams play again at noon Sunday.
The Cajuns racked up 17 hits against four Panthers pitchers.
UL-Lafayette baseball coach Tony Robichaux said he plans to start left-hander Cody Boutte (2-0) Sunday. Andrew Fessler (1-2), a senior left-hander will start for Georgia State.
On Saturday, Cajuns starter Carson Baranik (5-0) threw 111 pitches and lasted seven innings to remain unbeaten.
Panthers left-hander Garrett Ford (0-1) retired UL-Lafayette in order in the top of the first inning.
Ford’s dominance was short-lived, however.
Trailing 1-0, broke the game open in their next at bat when left fielder Caleb Adams tied the score with a solo homer on the first pitch.
UL-Lafayette scored nine more runs off as many hits as the Cajuns chased Ford off the mound.
From then on, UL-Lafayette never led by fewer than seven runs.
Adams’ homer was followed by homers from center fielder Seth Harrison in the fourth and sixth innings.
Robichaux said the Cajuns again displayed their tendency to score rapidly and often.
“The big thing for us has been our ability to pitch, play defense and get timely hitting,” Robichaux said. “(On Saturday) we just got on a roll, and that’s what this team is capable of. When that happens, they can put up numbers real quick on you.”
Harrison, for his part, said it was necessary to score as many runs as possible, as GSU entered the game with a .301 batting average and 23 home runs.
“Looking at it, we knew (Georgia State) was a strong offensive team who reminded us a lot of us,” Harrison said. “We have three things — hitting, defense and pitching, though — and they have only one, so we felt if we could score runs that would keep us in the game.”
Robichaux said the strategy was to guard against a major eruption.
“We wanted to never let them have the big innings,” Robichaux said. “Baranik didn’t have all that he normally has, but he was still able to manage the game real well.”
That’s what happened, as GSU leadoff hitter Ryan Blanton homered over the right-field fence off Baranik’s second pitch.
Baranik allowed another homer by Chase Raffield in the top of the third that made it 10-2.
The Panthers scored runs in the fifth and sixth before reliever Matt Hicks allowed two more in the top of the ninth.
Hicks threw the final two innings and surrendered five hits and two runs. On Friday night, Hicks allowed one hit and a run in an 8-3 win.
Robichaux said he threw Hicks again Saturday so Hicks could regain his confidence and save the remainder of the bullpen for Sunday’s game.