SBC Baseball Weekend Round-Up

COURTESY: Sunbeltsports.org

Sunday, March 23

Cajuns Slugs its Way to Series Sweep
LAFAYETTE, La. – The fifth-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team used five solo home runs on Sunday to complete the sweep of Georgia State and pick up its 12th straight win with a 5-3 victory in the series finale at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

With the win, UL Lafayette moves to 22-2 overall and 6-0 in Sun Belt Conference action taking sole possession of first place in the league. The 22-2 mark ties the best 24-game start in school equaling the 2000 squad. The Cajuns also hold the longest active win streak in the nation with the 12 straight wins. The sweep is also the third of the year for the team.

Senior Cody Boutte earned his third victory of the season holding the Panthers (10-14, 1-5 Sun Belt) to three runs on six hits with five strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.

“Boutte went out there and gave it everything he had, and we played good defense and did what we needed to do to win,” head coach Tony Robichaux said. “Everything came down to our approach. When you look back at Monroe, all of the runs we scored didn’t come down to the wind, it came to the approach. Early in the game, we had a poor approach. Coach (Matt) Deggs pulled the guys up and got the approach a lot better, and then we got some balls out of here.”

Andrew Fessler was handed the loss for GSU to fall to 1-3 on the season. Fessler gave up four runs on five hits in 4.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.

The Cajuns had a 9-6 edge in hits on the day with Ryan Leonards, Seth Harrison, Michael Strentz and Jace Conrad each posting two hits with a home run and a RBI.

Ryan Wilson and Strentz hit back-to-back solo home runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to give the Cajuns a 2-0 edge. Wilson powered his homer to straight away center field, while Strentz hit his team-leading fifth home run deep into the pine trees in left center.

In the bottom of the fifth, UL Lafayette notched back-to-back home runs for the second time on the day. Leonards sent a ball over the fence in left with one out. In the next at bat, Harrison launched his third homer of the series and fifth of season to right to make the score 4-0.

The Panthers cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the sixth on a three-run shot to right center by first baseman Nic Wilson. Wilson leads the Sun Belt with 10 home runs on the year.

Conrad continued the offensive onslaught in the bottom half of the sixth driving a 2-2 pitch well over the fence in right center for his fifth home run of the season.

GSU threatened in the top of the second putting two on with one out, but senior reliever Chris Griffitt came on and got two strikeouts to end the inning.

“I give a lot of credit to Brian Davis our trainer. He’s been in the pen for a very long time,” Robichaux added. “For him to stay the course and work like he did, I think baseball is paying him back.”

Griffitt went on to throw 2.2 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and did not allow a hit to earn his first career save.

For the fifth straight series, the Cajuns had over 10,000 in attendance with 10,691 passing through the gates over the weekend for the third largest three-day total in program history.

UL Lafayette continues its nine-game homestand on Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Northwestern State in the first of two midweek games at the Tigue. The Cajuns are slated to face Southern on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

A-State Tops UT Arlington, 14-10, for First Road Series Win
ARLINGTON, Texas (3/23/14) – The Arkansas State baseball team used a five-run seventh inning to take a 13-10 lead over UT Arlington and held on to defeat the Mavericks 14-10 to earn the series victory Sunday afternoon at Clay Gould Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.

Trailing 10-8, the Red Wolves (13-10, 5-1) responded to UT Arlington (8-16, 1-5) with a one-out walk by Kevin Fitzpatrick followed by an RBI triple by Dustin Jones to cut the deficit to 10-9. Collin Massanelli tied the game at 10-10 with an RBI infield single to shortstop and forced UTA to make a pitching change. After the change, Joe Schrimpf was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter Brett Nickle had a pop up single fall in left field to load the bases.

Austin Baker stepped up to the plate, but before he could attempt to score the go-ahead run, a balk was called on UT Arlington reliever T.J. Whidby to give A-State an 11-10 edge. Baker went on to walk to load the bases again, but Lucas Fedderson fouled out to third for the second out of the inning. Whidby couldn’t take advantage and walked Matt Burgess and Stuart Levy to give Arkansas State two more runs and stretch the lead to 13-10 before Jacob Moreland got UTA out of the inning.

The Red Wolves added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Baker tripled to right-center field and was plated on a sacrifice fly by Fedderson to make the score 14-10. Morgan Croft pitched a scoreless ninth after pitching the seventh and eighth innings to earn the save. Cody Woodhouse picked up his second win of the season after pitching 3 2/3 innings in relief and giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits with no walks and one strikeout.

Offensively, A-State was led with three hits and three RBI’s by Jones. Feddersen also drove in three runs while Zach Maggio plated two and Baker added two hits on the day. The Red Wolves had 12 hits total and nine different players registered hits on the day.

A-State starter Bradley Wallace recorded the first two outs of the top of the first inning, but gave up a single and a two-run homer to Ryan Bottger to give the Mavericks a 2-0 lead. Wallace walked the next hitter and gave up an RBI triple to J.M. Twichell to give UTA a 3-0 lead. A fly out to right ended the inning and the Red Wolves found themselves in an early 3-0 hole.

The Red Wolves started a two-out rally of their own in the top of the second with back-to-back singles by Ty Michelotti and Jones, and Michelotti was plated in the next at-bat when Massanelli’s grounder to second base was bobbled. Schrimpf walked to load the bases and brought Maggio to the plate.

Maggio hit a single to right field that plated Jones and Massanelli, while Schrimpf scored after the right fielder let the ball get away from him for an error. A fly out ended the inning, but A-State took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the second inning. The A-State lead didn’t last long however, as Travis Sibley led off the bottom of the second with a home run to left field. Wallace recorded the next three outs to limit the damage and keep the game tied 4-4.

In the bottom of the third, Wallace recorded the first out of the inning, but after a single and walk was taken out in favor of Woodhouse. Woodhouse struck out the first batter he faced, but an infield single to second base loaded the bases for Sibley. Sibley lined a single up the middle that scored two runs and gave the Mavericks a 6-4 lead as the game progressed to the fourth inning.

A-State started the top of the fifth inning with two infield singles by Schrimpf and pinch-hitter Tanner Ring. A walk to Baker loaded the bases and set up a Feddersen two-run single to tie the game at 6-6 that chased UTA starter Zach Thompson with no outs in the inning. After the pitching change, UTA recorded two straight outs before hitting pinch-hitter Fitzpatrick to load the bases with two outs.

Dustin Jones stepped up to the plate and ripped a two-run double to left-center field to score Baker and Feddersen to give Arkansas State an 8-6 lead over the Mavericks. Massanelli walked to load the bases again, but a fly ball to left field by Schrimpf ended the inning.

UT Arlington wasted no time in responding by starting off the bottom of the fifth with two singles and after a fly out to center had runners on first and third with one out. An infield single to shortstop scored a run to make the score 8-7 and an error by Schrimpf on a sacrifice bunt attempt loaded the bases with one out. An error by Feddersen on a ground ball allowed the tying-run to score, but a line drive from the next hitter turned into a double play when Jones snagged the ball out of the air and tossed the ball to Feddersen at second base to end the inning.

Matt Shortall homered with one out in the bottom of the sixth to give UTA the lead back at 9-8. A single and fly out followed to put a runner at first with two outs. The Mavericks stretched the lead to two runs at 10-8 after a double by Twichell, but he was thrown out after rounding second too hard to end the inning.

Arkansas State returns to action Tuesday, March 25 to take on regional rival Memphis. First pitch from Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Troy Routs ULM Behind Record-Breaking Offensive Performance
TROY, Ala. – The Troy baseball team set a new team single-game record with nine doubles in a seven-inning, 19-3 win over ULM on Sunday at Riddle-Pace Field. Including a pair of home runs, the Trojans pounded out 11 total extra base hits. The 16-run margin of victory was the most since Troy beat South Alabama 17-0 in 2010. The win was also Bobby Pierce’s 200th conference win as Troy’s head coach.

Designated hitter David Hall turned in a monster performance finishing the game 5-for-5 with two doubles, a grand slam and six RBIs; he fell just a triple shy of the cycle. Hall has hit safely in eight consecutive at bats and leads the team with a .377 average and 17 RBIs.

It was the first time Troy has run-ruled an opponent since last season when the Trojans defeated ULM 10-0.

Troy (14-10, 3-2 SBC) scored a run in each of the first two innings before exploding in the third. David Hall doubled down the left field line with one out and Jo-El Bennett followed with a double of his own to score the run. Matthew Howard walked before Bennett scored on a Nick Masonia single up the middle. Things would go from bad to worse for ULM (8-17, 1-5) after a pitching change as Justin Hancock was hit by a pitch and Tyler Vaughn doubled to drive home two more runs. Clay Holcomb was then hit by a pitch and Garrett Pitts walked to once again load the bases. After a strikeout, Hall launched a 0-1 pitch over the fence in left-center field to give Troy an 11-1 lead.

The nine-run inning saw 12 batters come to the plate and eight straight reach base. It was the first time eight consecutive batters reached base safely since 2010 at Kennesaw State.

Troy would score seven more runs in the fourth on the back of doubles by Masonia and Holcomb and a three-run homer from Bennett. As a team, the Trojans have hit 24 home runs in as many games. They have seven multi-home run games and three players tied for the team lead – David Hall, Trevin Hall and Bennett – with five home runs each.

Bennett and Holcomb would finish the game with three hits each while Masonia and Vaughn added two hits apiece. Bennett had five RBIs in the game while Vaughn added four.

The nine doubles in a game set a new team single-game record. The previous record of seven was accomplished four times, most recently in 2011 against Middle Tennessee State.

With the series win, the Trojans move to 3-2 in Sun Belt Conference play. Troy will travel to Pensacola on Tuesday to take on Alabama at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, the home of the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Game time is set for 6:35 p.m.

Allen, UALR Shut Out South Alabama, 10-0
LITTLE ROCK – UALR avoided the sweep in a big way with a 10-0 win over South Alabama behind Cameron Allen’s shutout.

After dropping the first two games of the series—and first five conference games—the Trojans (11-10, 1-5 SBC) jumped out to a lead and never looked back as they mercy ruled the Jaguars (12-10, 3-2 SBC).

Allen worked eight scoreless innings allowing just two base hits and striking out three. The outing tied a career high in innings as Allen was denied the chance to throw the ninth because UALR plated their tenth run in the eighth inning.

For the third time in three days the Trojans scored first when Drew Merten launched a two-run homer to left center field to gain a 2-0 lead in the second. The home run scored Austin Pfeiffer, who was hit by a pitch to start the inning.

UALR was able to add to its lead in the fourth with another home run. This time it was Bryson Thionnet launching the first pitch he saw well over the left field wall.

In the fifth inning the Trojans were able to break the game open by rallying for five runs. Ben Crumpton reached on a one-out infield single. The senior then stole second to tie the all-time career steals record with his 63 steal.

The next two batters walked before Justin Steelmon reached on a fielder’s choice to the pitcher. The throw went home and got to the catcher as Crumpton slide in. The collision caused the ball to get away scoring Crumpton and also allowing Ryan Scott to race home from second on the play. Joseph Paulino, then, laced a double down the right field line to score two more runs. Pfeiffer then singled up the middle to score Paulino and give UALR an 8-0 lead.

The Trojans added to their lead in the sixth after Hayden Martin doubled to right field, moved to third on another infield single by Crumpton and scored on a sacrifice fly by Scott.

The game ended when Steelmon reached on an error by the second basemen, which allowed Mitchell Scheuler to score and end the game.

For the second day in a row Crumpton anchored the offense going 3-for-5, scoring a run and frustrating the USA pitchers on the base paths. With his next stolen base Crumpton will move into first place all-time in UALR history in steals.

Martin went 2-for-3 with two doubles and scored a run. Paulino had two RBIs on his double while Merten drove in two with his home run. Thionnet had a homer and an RBI while Scott and Pfeiffer had a hit and an RBI each. Rockwell extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an infield single in the eighth.

The Trojans will be back on the road next week with a midweek trip to Missouri for a doubleheader on Tuesday starting at 1:00 p.m. After that UALR will travel to UL Monroe to begin a three-game series on Friday at 6:00 p.m.

Three Home Runs Propel Bobcats Past WKU
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Texas State used three home runs, including two back-to-back in the eighth, to beat Western Kentucky, 7-5, and clinch the series, 2-1, Sunday. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 15-8 on the season and 5-1 in Sun Belt Conference play while dropping WKU to 13-11 and 3-3.

There was a scoring flurry in the second and third innings and the game went quiet until the eighth. The Bobcats scored first in the contest when Tanner Hill knocked a triple in the second inning to far centerfield. After him, Ben McElroy also sent one to the centerfield fence to plate Hill and claim the 1-0 lead. Freshman Preston Dorsey followed with the first triple of his career to score McElroy with ease and crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly from Matt Smith.

The Hilltoppers answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie it, 3-3, but Texas State added two more in the third. Garrett Mattlage walked in the inning and Granger Studdard, after going 0-for-6 on Friday and Saturday, came up big with a two-run homer to put the Bobcats up 5-3.

Texas State enjoyed that lead for most of the game until the eighth inning. Western Kentucky had been the more dangerous team of the two with two outs, but the Bobcats proved they can be a threat with two outs when Hill knocked his third home run of the year to push the lead to 6-3. Right after him, McElroy sent his first home run of the season over the right centerfield fence.

It’s the first time this season the Bobcats knocked back-to-back homers and they proved to be the difference in the game. Western Kentucky answered with two more runs of their own to pull within 7-5 in the eighth. The Bobcats stuck with closer Hunter Lemke in the ninth and it paid off for them. Western Kentucky put runners on in the inning, but the ground ball pitcher forced a grounder into a double play from WKU’s best batter, Ryan Messex, to end the game.

The home run hitters led the Bobcats on the day with all three finishing with two hits. Hill and McElroy scored twice while Studdard and McElroy both knocked two RBI. Smith, Mattlage and Dorsey added a hit each to give Texas State nine hits on the day, two less than the Hilltoppers.

Lucas Humpal went 6.1 innings and struck out three while Lemke struck out one in his two innings of work. Cory Geisler pitched 0.2 innings. The staff walked five batters and gave up five earned runs and 11 hits.

Texas State will stay on the road for a midweek game at Texas at 6 p.m. Tuesday followed by a road series at Arkansas State over the weekend.