LAFAYETTE – Cooper Rawls didn’t have to go 7.2 innings like he did the last time he faced Louisiana Tech. But the result was the same.
Rawls scattered a pair of hits with six strikeouts in 4.2 innings of relief work to improve to 7-0 on the season while John Taylor and Heath Hood each drove in three runs in leading the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to a 10-5 victory over its in-state rival on Tuesday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
Louisiana (24-9), which won its sixth straight contest, overcame an early 3-1 deficit as it used a four-run, fifth inning before scoring three more runs late to claim its second straight win over Louisiana Tech (16-17) and improve to 84-71 in the all-time series.
Hood, Taylor and Max Marusak each homered for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who recorded 11 hits with six going for extra bases. Hood, Carson Roccaforte and Ruston, La., native CJ Willis had two hits apiece for Louisiana with Julian Brock adding a double with a pair of walks.
Rawls, who earned his first victory for the Ragin’ Cajuns in an 8-6 win on April 6, 2022, entered in the second inning in relief of starter Brendan Moody and nearly got the Ragin’ Cajuns out of the inning before an error gave the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead. The right-hander proceeded to retire 10 straight batters he faced before Dalton Davis blooped a two-out single to left in the fifth.
Louisiana chipped away at lead beginning with Will Veillon’s one-out double in the second to plate Brock before tying the contest in the third after Ben Robichaux scored from third ahead of Roccaforte getting caught in an inning-ending rundown between first and second.
Hood would break the game open for Louisiana in the fifth when he lined a triple into the gap in right-center field off Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Harland (0-4) to drive in Willis and Robichaux. Willis led off the inning with a single before moving to second on Marusak’s sacrirfice bunt before Robichaux was hit by a pitch.
Roccaforte followed with an RBI single through the right side to give Louisiana a 6-3 lead before scoring on Taylor’s RBI grounder.
Louisiana Tech would cut the lead in half in the sixth after Brady Drost was hit by a pitch and Logan McLeod belted his first home run of the season with a shot to right.
Taylor would help Louisiana pad its lead with two outs in the seventh when hit a towering, two-run home run to right off Bulldog reliever Landon Tomkins for a 9-5 lead. Marusak recorded Louisiana’s third home run of the game – all with two outs – in the eighth inning when he homered to center for his third of the season.
Carson Fluno pitched the final 3.0 innings to record his third save of the season for Louisiana, which scattered eight hits overall in the contest and struck out 12 batters. Fluno allowed a pair of hits and fanned four.
Davis went 3-for-5 to lead Louisiana Tech at the plate while McLeod was 2-for-4 with three RBI. Harland allowed five hits and four runs in 3.0 innings in relief for the Bulldogs. Louisiana will return to action on Wednesday when it travels east to face another in-state foe – Southeastern Louisiana (16-16) – in a 6 p.m. contest at Pat Kenelly Diamond at Alumni Field.