Conrad’s Walkoff Blasts Cajuns Past FIU
It was one for the ages at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field Wednesday night.
Lafayette High product Jace Conrad belted a three run walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night, leading #3 seed Louisiana over #6 FIU 9-6 in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament.
Conrad launched a 1-0 pitch from Mitchell Davis (6-3) over the wall in right center for his fourth homer of the year, his fourth hit of the night and his fourth RBI of the evening to give the Cajuns (39-17) the come from behind victory.
FIU (25-31) had taken a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth when Roche Woodard flared a double down the left field line off reliever Matt Hicks, scoring Edwin Rios who had opened the inning with a single.
But Ryan Leonards lashed a single to left to start the bottom of the frame. Michael Strentz was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded when Davis misplayed Chase Compton’s sacrifice bunt. Dex Kjerstad delivered the game tying sacrifice fly, scoring Leonards, and the Cajuns were celebrating their win two pitches later.
Ryan Wilson (5-4), who got the final out of the ninth inning, was credited with the win for the Cajuns.
The Cajuns got a run in the first inning on a Seth Harrison groundout and held the lead until the fourth. But starter Cody Boutte ran into trouble in the fourth inning. Aramis Garcia reached on an error to open the inning and FIU followed with five straight hits. After a force out at home, two more hits scored two more runs and FIU took a 5-1 lead.
But the Cajuns got two of those runs back in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Dylan Butler, a double by Michael Strentz and a double by Kjerstad to cut the lead in half after four innings.
Conrad’s RBI double in the sixth got the Cajuns within a run, and Louisiana tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Kjerstad and Conrad singled, followed by walks to Tyler Girouard and Caleb Adams, which forced home the run that tied the game at six.
The win keeps the Cajuns in the winners’ bracket where they will face #2 South Alabama Thursday night at “The Tigue” at 7:30. FIU will play #7 UALR in an elimination game at 12:30.
Earlier in the day, #4 Florida Atlantic edged #5 Western Kentucky 5-4 and top seed Troy held off #8 Arkansas State, 3-2. WKU and ASU will play in the day’s first game at 9 am, while Troy and FAU will clash at 4:00.