On Tuesday night, April 18, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns rolled into Baton Rouge and won handily 8–5 against the No.1- ranked LSU Tigers at Alex Box Stadium. The game sent shockwaves throughout the nation, with many non-LSU fans online praising Louisiana for their upset.
The LSU Tigers had just come off of a weekend series win against the University of Kentucky Wildcats, which included the Thursday, April 13 game that saw LSU score 14 runs in only three innings of work.
As for the Cajuns, they had come off of a weekend series loss to Troy that put into question the ability of the rotation. However, this did not dampen Louisiana’s spirits heading into the week.
As reported by 103.3 The G.O.A.T., in a press conference ahead of the matchup, Cajuns head coach Matt Deggs said, “Any time you’ve got multiple really good teams in your state, that’s gonna drive the sport way up, and you’ve got a number one team down the road.”
Deggs continued, “I think we were [ranked] as high as 28 last week. There’s just a lot of good baseball in this state, and that’s an opportunity for two ‘crazed’ fanbases, for lack of a better word, to get together and have a three-hour party.”
The Tigers opened the scoring with an RBI triple from first baseman Cade Beloso in the first inning, but the Cajuns would answer back in the second with a Clay Wargo sac grounder and an error off a Will Veillon single to left.
The Tigers’ Jack Merrifield worked a full count into a sac grounder to even the score to 2–2 before the third inning saw Cajuns’ outfielder Heath Hood crush a left-field homer, bringing the ever-present Carson Roccaforte around to take the lead 4–2.
In the third, Cajuns pitcher David Christie managed to scrape himself out of a bad situation, ending the inning allowing just a Jared Jones sac fly to maintain the lead.
Veillon continued his season’s offensive push with an RBI double off a full count in the fourth, and after Ruston’s own CJ Willis walked on a full count, catcher Julian Brock was in perfect position to capitalize. A single to right gave the Cajuns a tenuous 6–3 lead with a lot of baseball left.
For the next 2 ½ innings, both fields would lock down, leaving a grand total of seven baserunners stranded in that stretch.
After an impressive retiring of the side in 10 pitches for the by Christie, sophomore outfielder Conor Higgs hit a fantastic home run to right to extend the lead to 8–3. The Tigers would attempt to rally in the ninth, but the push would fizzle out. A Tre’ Morgan home run would end the scoring, 8–5.
This result brought Christie his first win of the season, and he earned it, only allowing one earned run through six innings. Tigers pitcher Riley Cooper was saddled with the loss, and fell to 1–2 on the season.
The main focus should be the potency of the Cajuns’ offense, though. At its peak potential, the stress that this lineup can put on a pitching staff is second to none in the Sun Belt conference.
To close that earlier midday press conference, Deggs said, “Like coach Herb Brooks said, ‘Great moments are born out of great opportunities,’ and it’s a great opportunity for us.”