It’s always a fun time when in-state opponents get together, and tonight was no different as Louisiana (18-14, 7-5 SBC) squared off against ULM (11-19-1, 4-7-1 SBC) at Russo Park for the first of three games in this Easter weekend series. Louisiana would give up one run early, but the offense for the Cajuns would come alive as they walked out with a 14-2 blowout in Game 1 in front of 4,000 fans.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The game kicked off in the top of the 1st with a Mason Holt triple, who would come home to score on a sacrifice to left field with one out. It was a close call at the plate, but Holt was able to get his hand under the glove of Julian Brock to make it 1-0 Warhawks early. In the bottom of the first, a 2 out double by Kyle DeBarge would set up Carson Roccaforte to hit a RBI single to center field to even the score at 1.
In the second, Louisiana would get 3 runs off of a Connor Kimple home run to right field and a 2-run double by Tyler Robertson to make it 4-1. ULM would respond in the top of the 3rd with a sacrifice fly to the left field warning track, trimming the Cajuns’ lead to 4-2.
The bottom of the 3rd started with a single by Roccaforte followed by Jonathan Brandon reaching on a error by Cam Barlow, ULM’s starting pitcher. Shortly after, Heath Hood reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Connor Kimple would get Roccaforte home on a sacrifice to left field, with Brandon and Hood advancing on another Warhawk error. Julian Brock would clear the bases with a 3-run shot to dead center, the 4th run of the inning to make it 8-2 Cajuns. Later, Bobby Lada was hit by a pitch, Max Marusak singles, then double steals with Lada, who steals 3rd and then steals home. Marusak would advance to third on the throwing error and would later score on a Robertson single to make it 9-2. Robertson would steal second on the play to put yet another runner in scoring position for Louisiana with only 1 out. The inning would end with Robertson being tagged out at the plate on a Brandon single.
In the bottom of the fourth, Connor Kimple reached on a single, followed by a hit by pitch for Bobby Lada. Next, with two runners on and 2 outs, Max Marusak would deliver an RBI double to score Kimple and the score 11-2 Louisiana. The bases would load up, but Kyle DeBarge would fly out to the warning track to end the inning.
ULM would start the fifth with back-to-back singles, but Brandon Talley would find his way out of the jam. The Cajuns would go three up and three down in the bottom of the frame on 5 pitches.
Colby Deaville would open the 6th for the Warhawks with a triple down the right field line, but Talley would retire the next three batters in order to keep the run off the board. In the bottom of the 6th, Kimple would walk and later advanced to third on a Connor Higgs double. Kimple would come home on a Marusak sacrifice fly. Tyler Robertson would also join the hit party this inning, getting Higgs home on a triple, extending Louisiana’s lead to 12-2.
Brandon Talley would get replaced by Dylan Theut to open the 7th inning. Talley went 6 complete, allowing 7 hits, 2 runs (both earned), and striking out a career high 8 batters. It was the first time in his career that he would pitch 6 innings in a single game.
The bottom of the 7th would start with CJ Willis getting hit by a pitch and advancing to third on a Mason Zambo single. A Trey Lafleur single would score Willis later in the inning. That hit for Lafleur is his first as a Cajun in his first official at bat. Austin Garrett would ground into a double play to end the 7th with a 14-2 lead for the Cajuns.
Jake Hammond would come into the game in the 8th and make light work of the Warhawks, walking one but getting out of the inning unscathed. In the bottom of the frame, back-to-back groundouts would lead to a 2-out double by Robertson, but a DeBarge strikeout would strand him and end the inning.
In the ninth, Austin Perrin would come in to close the door for Louisiana, but it wouldn’t come easily. After a hit batter, Michelle Artzberger would pinch hit a double to left field to put two runners in scoring position. Perrin would strike out Cupit for the second out of the inning and then would walk Schulz to load the bases. However, Perrin would strike out Caleb Sterling to end the game.
BIG NUMBER: 19
There were 19 base hits in the game for Louisiana, which was a game high for the 2022 season.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Tyler Robertson
Robertson went 4-5 with a single, 2 doubles, and a triple in the contest. He also added 4 RBIs to his line.
UP NEXT: Louisiana (19-14, 8-5 SBC) will meet up with ULM (11-20-1, 4-8-1 SBC) again tomorrow night for the second game of the three-game set. First pitch from Russo Park is scheduled for 6:00pm.