LAFAYETTE — Austin Robichaux did it with his arm and Seth Harrison did it with his bat, and because of those two players, Louisiana-Lafayette is in position for its second Sun Belt Conference sweep of the season.
Robichaux checked Troy on five hits — only two after the third inning — while fanning eight, and Harrison had a pair of home runs and six RBIs as the Ragin’ Cajuns rolled to a 9-2 baseball victory Saturday night.
The win came on the heels of a 7-6 series-opening win on Friday, and ULL (22-8, 6-5) will go for the sweep at 1 p.m. Sunday in the series finale. Saturday’s win ensures the Cajuns of their first league series win since their conference-opening sweep of Louisiana-Monroe in March. The only sweep between the two teams in league history came in 2010 when ULL swept Troy (20-9, 6-5) at home.
Robichaux (4-2) allowed the Sun Belt’s top-hitting team to score in only one inning, that coming in the third when Logan Pierce laced a two-out two-run double that scored Ali Knowles and Tyler Vaughn.
By that time, the Cajuns had taken an early 3-0 lead, and two innings later, Harrison’s grand slam provided a 7-2 edge. That was all Robichaux needed in posting ULL’s second complete game of the season, a 127-pitch effort that included only two singles after Pierce’s third-inning double.
“He missed with a fastball away,” Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux said, referring to Troy’s only RBI hit of the game, “but he regrouped and never let the game get away.”
Robichaux was also the beneficiary of solid defense, with ULL playing errorless defense for the second straight night and Robichaux himself making a key play on a no-out sacrifice bunt attempt in the fourth. Right fielder Dex Kjerstad then threw out a runner at third base, and Robichaux forced a ground ball to end the threat.
“Us playing defense helped keep his pitch count down,” Tony Robichaux said, “and that lets us save our bullpen for tomorrow.”
Harrison led off the second inning with a solo homer to left field that made it 3-0 at the time. But his bigger hit came three innings later off Troy starter Will Starling (4-3). With two outs, Caleb Adams singled, Starling hit Michael Strentz and walked Chase Compton to load the bases, and Harrison launched Starling’s 1-1 fastball just past the scoreboard in left field for a 7-2 lead.
“I don’t know what the pitch was,” Harrison said. “All I know is I swung and hit it hard. My heart was pumping so much I don’t remember a lot about it.”
The Cajuns added insurance runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, with Harrison’s two-out single in the seventh off reliever William Teal scoring Adams for his sixth RBI of the game, and Ryan Leonards’ no-out RBI single in the eighth plating Kjerstad after he led off the inning with a double. The Cajuns had seven of their 14-hit attack in the final two innings.
“We felt all along that we could hit like this,” said Tony Robichaux, whose team won its 11th straight home game. “We just hope we can keep pitching like this.”
Harrison, Leonards and Adams all had three-hit games for the Cajuns, who have had double-digit hits in five of their last six games. The five hits by the Trojans was their second-lowest output of the season.