SUPER!!!! Cajuns Defeat Mississippi State to Win Lafayette Regional
There were some who wrote off the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns after their opening regional loss to Jackson State.
Some were across the country. Many were fans of major conferences. Some were even “fans” of the Cajuns.
The ones that never wrote the Cajuns off? The 2014 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team.
Louisiana (57-8) completed its remarkable run in the Lafayette Regional, losing their first game and then winning four in a row, the last in a 5-3 win over #2 seed Mississippi State before 3,920 fans at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field Monday night.
Cajuns senior Ryan Wilson (6-0), making his first appearance of the regional, allowed just four hits in 6.2 innings to lead the Cajuns to the victory. Matt Plitt, making his third appearance, pitched the final 2.1 innings to earn his fifth save of the season.
Louisiana took advantage of some early wildness of the part of the Bulldogs (39-24), scoring three times on just one hit in the third inning and getting another run without a hit in the fourth to build a 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs scored in their half of the fourth and then twice in the seventh to make it a one run game, before the Cajuns got a big insurance run in the top of the ninth.
Plitt retired Mississippi State in order in the bottom of the ninth, ending it with a strikeout of leading hitter Brett Pirtle and sending the Cajuns faithful into delirium.
Louisiana will now face Ole Miss, the winner of the Oxford Regional in this weekend’s best two out of three Super Regional to be held at the “Tigue.”
In the third inning, catcher Michael Strentz drew a walk off MSU starter Lucas Laster (0-1) and moved to second on a groundout. Jace Conrad, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, then ripped a single to score Strentz and give the Cajuns a 1-0 lead. Blake Trahan and Tyler Girouard walked to load the bases, which ended Laster’s evening. Relief ace Jacob Lindgren then uncorked two wild pitches to score two runs and give the Cajuns a three run inning.
In the fourth, Seth Harrison was hit by a pitch, went to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch and scored on Strentz’ perfect squeeze bunt to increase the Cajuns’ lead to 4-0.
Mississippi State got on the board in their half of the fourth against Wilson when C. T. Bradford led off with a single and Pirtle singled him to second. Bradford took third on Gavin Collins’ fly ball and scored on Wes Rea’s sacrifice fly to make the score 4-1.
Lindgren continued to struggle with his control, issuing three more walks and a hit batsman, but kept the Cajuns off the board by striking out seven in his 4.1 innings of work.
State threatened against Wilson in the sixth when Pirtle singled with out out and Rea laced a double to left. But Wilson got Jake Vickerson on a fly ball to end the threat.
Wilson got the first two hitters in the seventh, but then hit number nine hitter Matthew Britton and walked Seth Heck. Plitt came on and gave up RBI hits to Bradford and Pirtle to cut the lead to 4-3 before getting Collins on a called third strike.
In the eighth, Plitt got the first two hitters but then issued back to back walks to Cody Brown and Alex Detz before striking out Britton to get out of trouble.
The Cajuns got a huge insurance run in the ninth off MSU closer Jonathan Holder when Conrad was hit by a pitch with one out. He stole second and then came home on Trahan’s line single to left to make the score 5-3.
Plitt struck out four, gave up two hits and walked two in his 50 pitch performance after throwing both Friday and Saturday in relief.
Conrad, Trahan, third baseman Ryan Leonards, Harrison and Strentz were all named to the All-Touranement team. Pirtle and Holder were named to the team for Mississippi State.