Louisiana opened up Sun Belt Conference play Friday night with dominant pitching and an early offensive explosion to top Coastal Carolina 9-2.

"We put in a lot of work this week," said head coach Matt Deggs. "I can't say enough about the job the coaching staff did this week. There were a lot of challenges issued. I thought our schedule prepared us for conference play."

The Ragin' Cajuns scored 6 runs in the second inning on 6 hits, as 11 batters went to the plate.

One inning later, Louisiana extended their early lead to 9-0, scoring 3 runs on only 1 hit, taking advantage of 3 Chanticleer errors as they batted around for a second consecutive inning with 9 Cajuns coming to the plate.

Shortstop Bobby Lada led the way, finishing the night with 2 hits, a triple, 3 RBI, and 1 run scored on 5 at-bats, starting in the leadoff spot for the first time this season.

"It's just another spot in the lineup," said Lada of leading off. "I just went up to bat with the same approach I've had."

Left fielder Connor Kimple and right fielder Carson Roccaforte each earned a pair of hits as well.

Third baseman Kevin Fitzgerald had a huge 2 RBI single off LHP Reid VanScoter in the 2nd inning with the bases loaded, helping Louisiana propel to a big early lead and they didn't look back.

Pitcher Spencer Arrighetti earned the win to improve to 4-1 on the season.

"He didn't have his best stuff to start, had to settle in, and the offense helped him," said head coach Matt Deggs. "With the lead, he was able to get a hold of his fast ball and was solid the rest of the way. He's a warrior."

A light mist made things slightly wet, leading to a few early challenges for Arrighetti, but once the game reached the third inning, he dominated.

The sophomore standout was awesome, striking out 11 batters, walking 3, and giving up one run on 123 pitches in 7.1 innings pitched.

"Arrighetti, he's a dog," said Lada of his teammate. "I've been telling him that since he had his first outing. He's been living up to it."

With Louisiana and Coastal Carolina scheduled to play 4 games in 4 days, Arrighetti going into the 8th inning was huge.

"He's showing a tendency right now to get stronger as he goes," said Deggs.

Jacob Schultz replaced Arrighetti in the 8th, going the rest of the way.

With the win, Louisiana improves to 12-10 on the season, and 1-0 in conference play, while Coastal falls to 0-1 in conference play, with a 13-7 record overall.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for tomorrow at 2:00 pm.

Coastal will start RHP Nick Parker (1-1, 3.71 ERA), while Louisiana will starter RHP Carter Robinson (1-1, 3.20 ERA).

Radio pregame begins at 1:30 on NewsTalk 96.5 KPEL-FM, KPEL965.com, and the KPEL News App.

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