UL-Lafayette outlasts LSU 4-3 in 10 innings

March 07, 2018 - 9:46 pm
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by James Moran Associate Editor Tiger Rag Magazine

Sometimes playing the percentages don’t work out.

LSU elected to pitch about Hayden Cantralle with two on and two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, loading the bases for Jonathan Windham, who was 1-for-22 to that point in the season.

Windham came through with a walk-off single to center field as UL-Lafayette defeated LSU 4-3 in an extra-inning thriller in Lafayette on Wednesday night.

The Tigers looked lifeless for eighth innings against Cajun lefty Colten Schmidt, but down to their last out, LSU roared back to life. A walk and a hit by pitch put the tying runs on base, and Austin Bain came off the bench with a two-run double to right that tied the game. He then took over on the mound and sat down the side in order to force extra innings.

Before that, LSU seemed primed to take a 1-0 pitcher’s duel. The Tigers scored in the top of the first inning and held that 1-0 lead until the bottom of the eighth inning. That’s when some baseball luck brought the newly-renovated Tigue Moore Field to life.

UL-Lafayette scored the tying and go-ahead runs on a suicide squeeze play perfectly executed by Cajun cleanup hitter Hunter Kasuls against Nick Bush. A bloop hit to right and a bunt single ignited the rally. They tacked on an insurance run that felt line lagniappe at the time considering how anemic LSU has been offensively.

Long before the drama, LSU got a splendid outing from AJ Labas, who is already making a serious bid to be LSU’s new resident Houdini.

Making his second career start — and first in a hostile environment — the freshman stranded men on the corners in the first inning before loading the bases with nobody out in the second. He proceeded to strike out the next three hitters and get out of trouble unscathed.

LSU struck first with some two-out thunder in the first. After two quick outs, Lafayette native Antoine Duplantis smoked a ground-rule double to right. Beau Jordan then came through with an RBI single to center off Schmidt, who was outstanding from there.

Labas worked into and out of trouble in the first and second innings, pounding the strike zone and using his changeup to keep the Cajuns off balance. He scattered four hits and threw first-pitch strikes to 13 of the 14 batters he faced.

Right-hander Devin Fontenot took over in the fourth and was electric. The rookie struck out five of the six Cajuns he faced over two perfect innings in what’s certainly the best outing of his young career to date.

Lefties Taylor Petersen and Bush worked scoreless frames in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively. Petersen stranded a man in scoring position while Bush struck out two in a clean inning.

What followed in the eighth wasn’t particularly Bush’s fault, either, but that’s baseball. LSU will look back more at going hitless during a stretch from the fourth inning into the eighth and failing to score outside the run in the first.

LSU will host Hawaii for three games at Alex Box Stadium starting on Friday night in its final series of the pre-conference slate before Southeastern Conference play begins next week.

DIAMOND CUTS

– Catcher Nick Coomes didn’t make the trip to Lafayette and will likely miss the rest of this week after being diagnosed with a concussion.
 

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