The Louisiana baseball team won their third consecutive matchup against the Louisiana State University Tigers in their fifth straight visit to New Orleans to play in the 16th annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic.
“We’ve always honored the privilege to be able to play in it,” Louisiana Head Coach Tony Robichaux told ESPN 1420. “Every inning is trying to stay away from giving them momentum, and that’s what I like. When you get to a regional, that’s how it feels.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns were the first to catch momentum in the matchup.
Two walks and an RBI-single by senior Orynn Veillon to lead off the second inning opened the scoring for Louisiana. A sacrifice fly by senior Handsome Monica brought in another run, but the Ragin’ Cajuns were unable to add on more and settled with an early 2-0 lead.
A double steal in the third inning by Louisiana second baseman Hunter Kasuls and center fielder Brennan Breaux with runners on the corners and one out brought in the third run of the game, but the Ragin’ Cajuns left a man on third and kept their lead at 3-0.
The Louisiana batters worked four walks and stole three bases in the second and third inning, so the smart base running and plate patience was essential to taking an early lead.
Louisiana starting pitcher Logan Savoy pitched the first three innings scoreless, allowing two hits, but he ran into trouble in the fourth inning. A leadoff walk and single set up a game-tying three-run home run off of the right field foul pole for LSU, and Savoy’s night ended one out into the bottom of the fourth.
LSU took the momentum that Robichaux talked about with that one swing. In the bottom of the fifth, a sacrifice fly and clutch two-out RBI-single off of Louisiana freshman relief pitcher Connor Cooke gave the Tigers their first lead of the game at 5-3.
Both pitching staffs tightened up after the fifth inning.
Louisiana relief pitcher Jacob Schultz gave up only one hit over the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, giving the Ragin’ Cajuns offense a chance to come back.
In the eighth inning, Louisiana took advantage of that opportunity. A leadoff single by Kasuls set up the game-tying two-run home run by Veillon.
“I was definitely taking daddy hacks,” Veillon said. “I was looking for a fastball. I was late on the first two, and it got to 3-2, so I just sold out on a fastball and I got it. It felt amazing. When I hit it, I knew it was gone.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns tied the game with the hit by Veillon, but took the lead in the next at-bat on another crushed home run by Monica.
“There’s not a better feeling than that,” Monica said. “Against LSU, a great team, the only emotions I felt were that I did it for my team.”
The back-to-back home runs gave Louisiana a 6-5 lead going into the bottom of the eighth inning, and they recaptured the momentum from the Tigers.
After Louisiana failed to tack on insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning, Schultz came back out in the ninth to finish the game for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
LSU made it interesting with a two-out single to bring the winning run to the plate, but Schultz finished the Tigers off with a strikeout to record his first win of the season, and Louisiana won their third straight meeting against LSU 6-5.
Schultz pitched four scoreless innings in the game, only allowing two hits and striking out four batters in relief. Veillon and Monica recorded a total of five RBI in the victory.
To see the highlights of the game, click here.