UL Wins On Conrad's Walk-Off

UL Wins On Conrad's Walk-Off

LAFAYETTE – Jace Conrad's three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth inning provided the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team with a 9-6 victory over FIU here Wednesday evening in the opening round of the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.

Conrad's home run came on the very next at bat after Dex Kjerstad delivered a sacrifice fly to pull the Cajuns (39-17) even at 6-all after FIU (25-31) had grabbed a 6-5 edge in the top half of the ninth inning on a two-out RBI double from Roche Woodard.

The ninth inning dramatics capped off a game-long rally for Louisiana after the squad fell behind 5-1 in the fourth inning.

The Cajuns snapped a seven-game losing streak in Sun Belt Conference Tournament action and advanced and stretched their current season winning streak to five games.

Louisiana advances to meet South Alabama (41-16) in a winner's bracket contest at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday with a bye from Friday's action on the line. The Cajuns and Jaguars are just two week's removed from a three-game series at "The Tigue" that USA won 2-1.

Conrad posted a game-high four hits and four RBI. Kjerstad posted his 27th multiple-hit game with a 3-for-4 performance landing him his 15th game with at least three hits.

UL handed FIU's Mitchell Davis only his third loss (6-3 record) in his 25th relief appearance after mounting the ninth-inning comeback off the Panthers' reliever.

Ryan Wilson, who recorded the final out in the top of the ninth after Woodard's double, picked up the win for the Cajuns pulling his record back above .500 at 5-4.

Louisiana took the first lead of the game in its first at bat. Kjerstad led off with a walk, stole second, was sacrificed to third by Conrad and scored on a Seth Harrison grounder to shortstop.

After the leadoff batter reached on an error, five consecutive singles off of Cody Boutte in the fourth inning resulted in three quick runs for the Panthers as part of a five-run inning that gave the visitors a 5-1 lead.

Louisiana answered in the bottom of the inning getting runs on a Chase Compton ground out to second base and Kjerstad double off the right field fence cutting the FIU lead to 5-3.

Conrad doubled down the left field line with two outs in the sixth inning to plate Michael Strentz, who led off the inning by beating out a throw for an infield single, and the Cajuns cut the deficit to 5-4.

Kendall Mayer and Matt Hicks each stranded a pair of FIU baserunners in relief appearances in the seventh and eighth inning, respectively, to prevent the Panthers from extending the lead.

A bases-loaded walk by Caleb Adams forged a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning before the two teams exchanged tallies in the ninth inning.

BASES NOTED: M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field is serving as the host site of the Sun Belt Tournament for the fifth time…Previous years the event was held at "The Tigue" include 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2008…Louisiana is now one win shy of its first 40-win season since 2007…The Cajuns, who posted 14 base hits, reached double digit hits for the 34th time and improved to an impressive 31-3 when reaching double figure hits…Louisiana is now 35-7 when scoring five runs or more…UL collected six extra base hits, increasing the season total to 213 which leads the Sun Belt Conference…Jace Conrad's home run was the team's 67th marking the most hit by a Sun Belt Conference school since the new bat standards were implemented in 2011 (previous high was 66 by FIU in 2011)…Louisiana picked up its first SBC Tournament win since a 5-4 win over Middle Tennessee in a winner's bracket game at the 2009 event held in Troy…The Cajuns are now 3-3 vs. FIU in the SBC Tournament…Louisiana posted a comeback victory for the fourth time in the past five outings (trailed 6-0 vs. South Alabama in second game of May 12 doubleheader; trailed 4-2 after seven in ULM opener May 16; trailed 4-1 after four innings at ULM May 17).

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