Coastal’s Comeback Bid Falls Short in 5-3 Sunday Loss to Louisiana

Coastal’s Comeback Bid Falls Short in 5-3 Sunday Loss to Louisiana
CCU baseball (Source: WMBF)

LAFAYETTE, La. – Coastal Carolina scored three runs in the top of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as the Chanticleers fell to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns 5-3 on Sunday afternoon in Lafayette, La.

The loss drops Coastal to 14-8 overall and 1-2 in Sun Belt play, while Louisiana improves to 13-11 and 2-1 in league play with the win.

The Chanticleers offense, which left five runners on base and had only one player reach base safely over the first six innings of play, had six players total seven hits led by a two-hit game from left fielder Nick Lucky (2-for-4, 3B, 2 RBIs, run, SB) and one hit each from Eric Brown (1-for-4, run), BT Riopelle (1-for-4, 2B, run), Cooper Weiss (1-for-3, BB, RBI), Zack Beach (1-for-4), and Fox Leum (1-for-3).

The loss fell to freshman Keaton Hopwood (4-1), who suffered his first loss by allowing five runs on seven hits, one walk, and three strikeouts. However, three of the seven base hits for the Cajuns were home runs.

The bullpen tandem of Teddy Sharkey (3.0 IP, 1 hit, 2 BB, 3 K) and Alaska Abney (1.1 IP, 2 K) kept the Ragin’ Cajuns at five runs over the final 4.1 innings of play.

Louisiana’s Ben Fitzgerald (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) hit two home runs and drove in three RBIs, while Carson Roccaforte (1-for-3, HR, BB, RBI, run) and Anthony Catalano (1-for-3, 2B, RBI) each drove in one run in the win.

Ragin’ Cajun starter Austin Perrin (1-1) was nearly perfect heading into the seventh inning, as he finished the game allowing three runs on three hits, one walk, and six strikeouts over 6.2 innings of work, while Connor Cooke (1) picked up the save by holding the Chants scoreless over the eighth and ninth innings.

The Ragin’ Cajuns powered their way out to an early 3-0 lead with a two-run home run from Fitzgerald and a solo shot off the bat of Roccaforte in the bottom of the first inning.

Louisiana added to its lead in the bottom of the third on another home run from Fitzgerald, this one a solo shot to right field, to push the home team’s lead out to 4-0.

The Cajuns looked to add to that lead later in the inning, however, a strikeout and caught stealing double play ended the inning with no more damage with ULL leading 4-0 after three innings played.

While the bats continued to struggle for the Chants, Louisiana scored again in the fourth inning, recording back-to-back two-out hits to extend its lead to 5-0 heading into the fifth inning of play.

After neither team could get anything going offensively in the sixth, the Chants’ bats finally broke through in the top of the seventh, as Riopelle lined a two-out double to right field followed by a two-run triple to the deepest part of the ballpark in center field by Lucky to cut the Louisiana lead to three at 5-2 and drive starter Perrin from the game.

The inning continued with Weiss poking a ball into right field to score Lucky from third as the Chants closed the gap to 5-3 prior to the seventh-inning stretch.

However, that would be all the Chants would score the rest of the way, as CCU loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth but was unable to get a run across.

Coastal (14-8, 1-2 Sun Belt) and Louisiana (13-11, 2-1 Sun Belt) will play a non-conference contest tomorrow afternoon with first pitch slated for noon ET.