LAFAYETTE, La. (3/24/12) — Junior starter Daniel Wright (1-2) struck out a career-high nine batters to get the win and third baseman Claude Johnson went 4-for-5 to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves to a 6-4 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette Saturday afternoon in Sun Belt Conference baseball action at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The two teams entered the sixth inning tied at 2-2, but ASU scored three times in the sixth and once in the seventh, then held off ULL in the final two innings to get the win.
With the win, the Red Wolves improved to 4-1 in Sun Belt Conference action, 12-10 overall, and remain in no worse than a tie for first place in the league after evening the weekend series with the Cajuns at 1-1. Louisiana-Lafayette slips to 13-9 overall and 3-2 in SBC action with the loss.
“Hats-off to Daniel Wright and Bradley Wallace, because they executed pitches when they needed to today and they did a fantastic job in an environment that is not real friendly,” said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. “Our hitters did a good job with some at-bats, strung together a big inning, and usually you can get the win when you do that.”
Arkansas State took advantage of a Cajun throwing error to score the game’s first run, taking a 1-0 lead in the second. Catcher Stuart Levy walked to lead off the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from shortstop Dustin Jones, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from right fielder Kaleb Brown and scored when ULL first baseman Chase Compton couldn’t dig out the throw from third on Brown’s bunt.
The Red Wolves’ lead held until the bottom of the fourth when Compton sent a two-out, two-run home run over the right field wall, but the Red Wolves used a ground-rule double from Jones, followed by an RBI single from Brown to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth.
Johnson led off the sixth with a double, advanced to second on a bunt single from designated hitter Ryan Emery and scored on a sacrifice fly to center field from Jones to put the Red Wolves back on top 3-2. A two-out, two-run triple from center fielder Michael Faulkner later in the inning stretched the ASU advantage to 5-2.
The Red Wolves added a run in the seventh on a two-out RBI single from Levy to make it 6-2 before Compton delivered a run-scoring single in the eighth for ULL to cut the gap back to three at 6-3. The Cajuns scored an unearned run in the ninth and got the tying run to the plate, but reliever Bradley Wallace struck out ULL center fielder Brian Bowman to record the final out and pick up his first save of the season.
Wright gave up two runs on five hits, walking none in the winning effort, while junior Chris Griffitt (3-2) took the loss on the mound for ULL, giving up five runs on eight hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.
In addition to Johnson’s 4-for-5 day at the plate, Brown went 3-for-5 and Faulkner was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Compton was 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead ULL.
The two teams will decide the series Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
- Junior Michael Faulkner is now 18/35 (.514) during his career at the plate against the Cajuns. Faulkner’s sixth-inning triple was his second of the season and eighth of his career.
- Junior starting pitcher Daniel Wright retired the first nine batters he faced and struck out a career-high nine batters on the day
- Shortstop Dustin Jones’ fifth-inning double was his first multiple-base hit of the season.
- Right fielder Kaleb Brown’s eighth-inning triple was his second of the year.