Louisiana Pitching Controls Southern Miss in 5-3 Game One Win
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns had excellent pitching performances by starter Tommy Ray and reliever Brandon Talley, and their offense took advantage of multiple two-out RBI-hits in a 5-3 win at Russo Park to open their weekend series against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
For the fifth straight game, the Cajuns pitching staff combined to throw double-digit strikeouts. This time, Ray and Talley tossed 11 strikeouts to shut down the Golden Eagles' offense With the victory, Louisiana improved to 6-4 this season. Head coach Matt Deggs talked about his starter's performance after the game.
"Tommy did what you've got to do on Friday nights," Deggs said. "He gave us a chance to score and when we did score, he pitched with the lead. He was effectively wild tonight, and he got a lot of chases out of them. I thought he did a really good job of making those guys hit on his terms."
Ray was outstanding to start the game. The first hit he gave up was with two outs in the fifth inning, but he was able to get the next batter to groundout to end the frame.
It was a pitching battle for most of the game, but Louisiana's bats struck first with a run in the opening inning. Carson Roccaforte reached on an error and stole second base with two outs. This allowed a RBI-hit by Connor Kimple to score him and plate the game's first run. Following that, the Cajuns offense was mostly held quiet, but Ray was dealing on the mound for Louisiana.
The fifth inning was the game-winning frame for the Cajuns. Julian Brock and Bobby Lada each got one-out singles to start things off. With two outs, Kyle DeBarge crushed a RBI-double, and Roccaforte followed that up with a huge two-run home run. Just like the run in the first inning, all four of those runs came with two outs. Louisiana took a commanding 5-0 lead.
Ray struck out the first batter he faced in the sixth, but he hit the next batter and gave up a single which ended his night. Brandon Talley entered and got a strike out to set up a two-out situation. However, a three-run home run cut into Louisiana's lead, but Talley absolutely shut down the Golden Eagles following that hit. Deggs shared his message to associate head coach Seth Thibodeaux regarding the late innings with Talley.
"I could tell from his first batter that he was the old Talley tonight," Deggs said. "I told Thib that's his game, and don't mess with anybody else. I could tell he's got his good stuff tonight."
Even though the Cajuns couldn't add to their lead, Talley proved Deggs right by retiring 10 of the next 11 batters to record his first save of the year. Talley threw 3.2 innings in relief, striking out five batters and allowing only one run on two hits without a walk.
Louisiana held on to win thanks to Talley's strong performance out of the bullpen. They took game one of the weekend series against the Golden Eagles 5-3.
Up next, Louisiana and Southern Miss play game two of their series at Russo Park on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.