STATESBORO, Ga. — Brian Mills’ grand slam in the eighth inning lifted the 26th-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team to a 13-9 win over Georgia Southern to clinch the series on Sunday at J.I. Clements Stadium.
Mills had two home runs in the contest and became the first Ragin’ Cajuns hitter to drive in six runs in a game since Jace Conrad on June 1, 2014, against Jackson State.
With the victory, the Cajuns improved to 21-11 and 10-5 in Sun Belt play, while the Eagles fall to 18-14 and 7-8.
“You don’t want to always get in firefights, but it’s nice when your hitters can back up your pitchers and defense when they aren’t at their best,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said. “We said ‘so what?’ and kept fighting when things weren’t going our way. We didn’t let one thing turn us and didn’t quit fighting. I thought Brian did a good job of staying back on a change up and took the ball down the line where the ball really carries.”
The Cajuns pounded out 12 hits, led by Kyle Clement, who was 3-for-5 and scored a run. Brad Antchak drew three walks, scoring three times.
Dylan Moore (4-1) earned his fourth victory of the season tossing 3.2 scoreless innings to close out the game. Moore allowed just one hit with a career-high six strikeouts.
Starter Nick Lee was chased in the fourth inning after giving up five runs (one earned) on four hits with two walks and a strikeout in 3.2 innings.
Georgia Southern starter Brian Eichhorn gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 2.1 innings. Reliever Byron Yelverton was handed the loss after giving up four runs on three hits in two innings.
The Cajuns jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, loading the bases with no outs. Stefan Trosclair brought home the first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly. In the next at-bat, Steven Sensley gave the Cajuns a two-run edge on an RBI ground out to second base.
Georgia Southern cut into the lead in the bottom half of the first as Cal Baker doubled to left field and scored on an Alex Pinero error with two outs to make the score 2-1.
Mills gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a three-run edge in the top of the second as he hammered a 2-1 pitch from Eichhorn over the fence in left for a two-out, two-run homer.
The Cajuns tacked on two more runs in the top of the third on a ball hit to second by Antchak that was misplayed by Eric Furphy to increase the advantage to 6-1.
In the bottom half of the third, the Eagles picked up a run on a ball hit to third base by Baker to cut the lead to 6-2.
Georgia Southern pulled within a run in the bottom of the fourth with three runs on two hits and an error to make the score 6-5. An RBI triple by Jordan Wren highlighted the scoring.
The Cajuns got a run back in the top of the sixth on an RBI ground out by Nick Thurman to take a two-run edge.
The Eagles took the lead in the bottom half of the sixth, scoring four runs on two hits, an error and four walks. Ryan Cleveland tied the game at 7 on a two-run single to left field. After an intentional walk to Will Hudgins, Hunter Thomas singled home two more runs to put Georgia Southern up 9-7.
Mills gave the Ragin’ Cajuns the lead back in the top of the eighth, driving an 0-1 pitch from Yelverton down the left field line for his first career grand slam.
Brenn Conrad added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth, doubling home Trosclair and Antchak to make the score 13-9.