Incredible Pitching Performance Propels Cajuns to Championship Sunday
For the first time since 2016, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team will be playing in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship Game.
And all they had to do was get past the nationally-ranked Texas State Bobcats who swept the Cajuns only a week ago.
It was a tall order for the Cajuns, who defeated South Alabama 9-1 on Friday night to make it to the revenge matchup. But, they were up to the challenge.
“It’s all about these kids, that’s who it’s about, they went out and made pitches and made plays and had great at-bats and fought and worked,” Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs said to ragincajuns.com. “They’ve done that for us since August, they’ve been the same group literally every single day, never wavered. It’s about those guys going out and playing their hearts out against a really good ball club.”
The man of the evening for the Cajuns was senior Jacob Schultz. A complete game, 142-pitch, 12-strikeout performance almost didn't happen after the right-hander gave up a couple of runs in the first two innings as the Cajuns fell behind 2-0 early against the Bobcats.
But Schultz settled in and got better as the evening went on.
"Usually in the sixth or seventh is when I kind of hit the afterburners and start throwing more aggressively I’d say," pointed out Schultz to ragincajuns.com. "I kind of coast early and after that put the pedal down and go.”
That he did as he retired the final 11 batters he faced.
And junior third baseman Tyler Robertson backed him up with two home runs - one to tie it in the 3rd inning and one to take the lead for good in the 5th inning.
“It’s something I’ll never forget, but already that’s in the past," said Robertson, who came up huge in his hometown. "We’re here to win a championship, and that’s something everyone will remember. No one’s going to remember two home runs down the road, I want to get that championship for all of Lafayette. I’m ready for that.”
Now, the Cajuns get ready to take on the 2nd-seeded Georgia Southern Panthers, a team that took two of three from in Lafayette at the beginning of April.
“I’m a big stat guy, believe it or not, I think that might be the first game we’ve won this year when we’ve just scored three runs,” Deggs said to ragincajuns.com. “That’s kind of an oddity. We have a really good record when we get to six (26-1), but that low water mark, that’s what we’ve needed is outings like that and defended like that. Really proud of them, they let us coaches come along for the ride, we’re happy to be here and play for a championship.”
First pitch for the Championship Game is set for 1 PM and can be heard on Newstalk 96.5 FM KPEL.