Sugar is Sweet! Girouard’s Blast Leads Cajuns Over Ole Miss, 9-5
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns head coach says Tyler Girouard is the best pure hitter on a team full of good hitters.
And, the Cajuns’ designated hitter made his coach look really smart Saturday night.
Girouard had two hits, scored three runs and blasted a three run homer to give Louisiana the lead for good as the Cajuns took game one of their best of three super regional, defeating Ole Miss, 9-5 before a season high 4,278 at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The win puts the Cajuns one victory away from their second trip to the College World Series and their first since 2000.
Louisiana (58-8) trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning and did what they’ve done all year–they made their opponent pay for giving up free baserunners.
The Cajuns loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman to lead off the third inning off Rebels’ starter Chris Ellis (10-2). Blake Trahan’s ground out cut the lead to 3-2. That brought up Girouard (whose nickname “Shug” is short for Sugar), who blasted a 3-1 pitch down the line in right field to give the Cajuns a 5-3 lead and send the partisan crowd, as well as several hundred more fans watching on big screens outside the gates, into a frenzy. The homer was the third of the year for the Cajuns’ DH.
The homer was the first hit of the game for the Cajuns.
Girouard was quick, however, to deflect the praise.
“I don’t think it’s about me. Anyone in that situation could have done it. It’s not just me, it’s not just the other person. This whole team can do stuff like that in big situations.”
Louisiana added another run that inning against reliever Jeremy Massie on back to back singles by Chase Compton and Seth Harrison and a balk to make it a five run inning and give the Cajuns a 6-3 lead.
Austin Robichaux (8-3), drafted earlier in the day by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (18th round), rebounded after a shaky second inning. He retired seven straight hitters before walking Errol Robinson with two out in the fourth and giving up an RBI triple to Braxton Lee. The junior right hander then retired eight of the next nine batters.
The Cajuns, meanwhile, built their lead with three more runs in the fifth inning. Girouard singled to lead off the fifth and Caleb Adams followed with a bunt single, the Cajuns 50th bunt hit of the season. Chase Compton bunted the runners to second and third before Massie uncorked a wild pitch allowing Girouard to score. Seth Harrison then delivered an RBI ground out that scored Compton. Dylan Butler capped the big inning by unloading his sixth homer of the year to make the score 9-4 and essentially put the game away.
Ole Miss (44-19) threatened in the seventh when Austin Bousfield singled with one out. After Austin Anderson grounded to second, Will Allen delivered a run scoring single to make the score 9-7. Sikes Orvis, who leads the Rebels with 13 home runs, then sent a fly ball deep to left, but Adams made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Orvis of a home run and preserve the lead.
“Anytime someone makes a play in the field–like Ryan (Leonards) did last weekend in the regional–it really pumps you up. It just gives you confidence especially late in the game. We’ve had a lot of big defensive plays all year,” Adams said.
Robichaux ended his night after the seventh. He threw 116 pitches, 71 for strikes. He walked three and struck out four, allowing seven hits and five runs, all earned.
“Austin tried to get into his groove in the second inning and couldn’t find it, but then got going after that and got his changeup working really well from the third inning on,” coach Tony Robichaux said after the game.
Matt Plitt came on in relief ifor the final two innings. He retired the Rebels with one hit in the eighth and got Allen to hit into a double play with runners at the corners in the ninth inning to end the game. Plitt has now thrown seventeen straight scoreless innings.
Compton and Harrison also had two hits for the Cajuns, who tallied eleven hits in the game. Louisiana is now 31-0 when scoring eight runs or more.
Ole Miss took the 3-0 lead in the second when Orvis doubled to left center to start the inning and went to third on J. B. Woodman’s fly ball. Colby Bortles drew a walk and Preston Overbey singled to drive in Orvis. Errol Robinson then singled to drive in Bortles for the second run and, after Braxton Lee walked, Auston Bousfield hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-0. Robichaux finally got out of the 32 pitch inning by striking out Austin Anderson.
The Cajuns got an unearned run in their half of the second when Girouard walked and was bunted to second by Adams. With two out, Seth Harrison then lifted a fly ball that Bousfield dropped, allowing the Cajuns to get on the board.
Ole Miss was led by Lee and Bousfield with two hits each. The Rebels had five of their ten hits in the last three frames but could only manage one run.
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said “I thought they (Louisiana) played very well tonight. Austin Robichaux , after maybe struggling in the first couple of innings, really found himself and got them deep into the game, which is what you want from your ace. But (it was) disappointing from our part where we didn’t play better. I felt we played poorly and gave them too many opportunities.”
Game two of the best of three series will be played tomorrow night at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05pm. Should Ole Miss win, game three would be played Monday at 6pm.