LAFAYETTE, La. – Coastal Carolina used small ball and two home runs to plate five runs in the 5-3 road win over Louisiana on Saturday afternoon in Lafayette, La. The win evens the series at 1-1.
Coastal bounced back from a 9-2 loss on Friday night to defeat the Ragin’ Cajuns on Saturday and move to 14-7 overall and 1-1 in Sun Belt play. The loss drops Louisiana to 12-11 overall and 1-1 in league play.
The Coastal offense was powered by home runs from outfielders Billy Underwood (1-for-4, HR, BB, 2 RBIs, run) and Nick Lucky (1-for-4, HR, run) while sophomores Eric Brown (1-for-5, 2B, RB) and Tanner Garrison (1-for-3, RBI) each drove in a run in the win. While Dale Thomas (0-for-2) was hitless on the day, his two sacrifice bunts led directly to three runs.
Starting pitcher Nick Parker (2-1) had yet another strong outing for the Chants, as the junior allowed just two runs, one of which was earned, on one walk, and one strikeout over 5.2 innings.
The bullpen duo of Shaddon Peavyhouse (2.1 IP, 1 hit, 1 BB, 1 K) and Luke Barrow (1.0 IP, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) pitched the final 3.1 innings with Barrow recording his first career save.
Louisiana, who outhit the Chants 9-7 for the game, left 12 runners on base in the loss.
Center fielder Tyler Robertson (4-for-5, 2 2B, RBI) had a game-high four base hits and an RBI while the other Ragin’ Cajun RBI came from a sacrifice fly from Brennan Breaux (0-for-4, RBI).
LA’s Chipper Menard (0-1) was handed the loss, as he entered the game in the fifth inning and gave up four runs on two hits, both of which were home runs, two walks, and one strikeout over 2.1 innings out of the bullpen.
The Chants took their first lead of the weekend in the top of the second inning, as singles from Cooper Weiss and Zack Beach set up an RBI single off the bat of Garrison to put the visitors in front at 1-0.
After Parker stranded one Ragin’ Cajun in the first and two in the second, the home team lined back-to-back doubles down the right and left-field foul lines to score one run and tie the game up at 1-1 after three innings of play.
Coastal broke the tie in the top of the fifth with small ball setting up the long ball. Designated hitter Fox Leum drew a lead-off walk to start the inning and then moved up 90 feet to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Thomas.
With the go-ahead run on second, Underwood lined a ball into the pine trees behind the left-field wall for a two-run shot, the first home run of his career, to give the lead back to the Chants at 3-1 midway through the fifth.
Looking to get a run back in the bottom half of the inning, the Cajuns put runners on first and third only to see Parker get a routine ground ball to Thomas at second base end the inning and strand two more Cajun runners.
With one swing of the bat in the top of the sixth, Lucky added to the Chants’ lead with a 395-foot solo home run to right field to push the lead to three at 4-1.
Louisiana was able to push across one run in the bottom of the sixth on a double, back-to-back, hit batters, and a fielding error to trim the lead to two at 4-2 before a Peavyhouse strikeout ended the inning with the bases loaded to send the game to the seventh.
The Chants again used small ball in the top of the seventh to plate another run, as Leum again drew a lead-off walk and moved up to second base on another sacrifice bunt from Thomas. Two batters later, Brown laced a double into the right-field corner to score pinch-runner Makenzie Pate from second and place the men in black and teal back in front by three at 5-2.
Peavyhouse kept the Chants on top with a 1-2-3 seventh and then pitched around a walk and a single in the eighth by getting a 3-6-3 double play and a ground ball out to second base to take the game to the ninth at 5-2.
The Cajuns loaded the bases with one out on back-to-back singles and a walk but scored just one run on a sacrifice fly as Barrow struck out the final hitter to save the 5-3 win.