Cajuns Upset #1 Seed Middle Tenneessee

Justin Robichaux pitched seven innings of one-run ball to lead Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns past top-seeded Middle Tennessee, 5-4, in game that came down to the final out on the second day of play at the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship.

Middle Tennessee trailed by four runs heading into the eighth inning, but the Blue Raiders scored three in their final two trips to the plate to pull within one. With Middle Tennessee runners on second and third, the Cajuns elected to intentionally walk Bryce Brentz, who had gone 3-for-4. It proved to be the right move. Louisiana shortstop Greg Fontenot stopped a sharp grounder from Ben Darlington and threw to second base from a seated position just in time to tag Brentz out to end the game and give the Cajuns the win.

The Blue Raiders outhit the Cajuns, 13-7, but Robichaux and the Louisiana defense kept the baserunners from crossing home plate to lay the groundwork for the victory. The junior right-hander struck out three, walking just one, and the Cajuns recorded four double plays to retire the Blue Raiders.

Alex Fuselier, Scott Hawkins and Kyle Bostick accounted for six of Louisiana's seven hits, with each batter recording two hits.

Brentz, Nathan Hines and Tyler Burnett notched three hits apiece for the Blue Raiders, but the effort came up just short as the bottom of the Middle Tennessee lineup struggled to put the ball in play. The hitters in the 6-9 spots tallied just two hits on the game.

Les Smith led off the scoring with a solo home run to right field, and the Cajuns added another point in the third when Alex Fuselier connected on a single to drive in Kyle Olasin. Olasin had reached base on balls and put himself in scoring position by stealing second.

The Blue Raiders cut the deficit in half and notched their lone run when Bryce Brentz scored from first base on a double from Blake McDade that soared deep to left field.

But the Cajuns capitalized on their chances in the fifth inning to add to their lead, using one hit, three walks, a hit batter and a Middle Tennessee error to score two more runs. Matt Goulas was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a throwing error from pitcher Justin Guidry. Smith and Keefer recorded back-to-back walks—Smith's intentional—to load the bases, and an RBI-single followed by a sacrifice fly from Greg Fontenot gave the Cajuns a three-run lead.

Louisiana (27-28-1) got some extra insurance in the seventh inning as Hawkins singled, stole second base and scored on Kyle Bostick's second double of the game.

When the Cajuns turned to their bullpen in the eighth inning, the Blue Raiders took full advantage, and the insurance runs became the difference-makers. Nathan Hines led off with a single and moved to third base on two wild pitches from Blake Haagen. He scored as Brentz doubled in the following at-bat, and Brentz later crossed home plate when Luke Wagley walked a batter with the bases loaded. The Blue Raiders had their chances for the comeback in the ninth inning, but the Cajuns clung to their one-run lead.

With the win, the Cajuns will await the winner of that contest for a 4 p.m. matchup on Friday afternoon.

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