Sun Belt Baseball Championship Set


Even though the Hilltopper’s season concluded earlier this week, there was still Sun Belt baseball to be played, and you couldn’t have asked for any better action in the both of the semi-final match ups yesterday.

The first teams to battle it out on the diamond were the top seeded Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns and Texas State Bobcats, a rematch of a game earlier in the tournament. ULL stepped across the plate first as the bats were hot early in the 2nd inning. Left fielder Caleb Adams sent a ball over the fence as he homered one for the Cajuns, while short stop Blake Trahan knocked two runners in of his own off of a triple. ULL would notch one more run in the 6th making it a one run game entering the bottom of the eighth.

That was when the Bobcats, in typical fashion, would try to make things interesting. Garrett Mattlage doubled sending Cody Perkins in for the score, and advancing Cody Lovejoy to third. Lovejoy would capitalize on a wild pitch from the Cajuns and score making it a 3-4 ball game. Despite their last effort, Texas State would surrender to the Ragin Cajuns after zeros were left in the 9th, leaving the final score 4-3. Cajun pitcher Cody Boutte picked up the dub, earnig his eighth of the season while also remaining undefeated. ULL will enter the SBC Championship game with a Sun Belt record 52 wins and a mere seven losses (one of them belonging to the Hilltoppers. Booyah).

Game 2 on the day was between UT-Arlington and the Arkansas State Red Wolves. The Wolves leaped first onto the scoreboard as they tacked 2 runs in the first inning of the game. Then the Mavericks decided to steal the hot bats from the Cajuns as they rallied five runs of their own in the 2nd off of five hits. Similarly to the ULL/Texas State matchup, UTA seemed to have the game in control with a 6-3 lead until the 7th. The Red Wolves (like the Bobcats) gained footing and began their comeback.

A-State would send four runners across home plate to score. The inning would give the Wolves back the lead with two innings to go, but would the comeback couldn’t be sustained. The Mavericks, down 6-7, with 2 outs in the eighth began their game wining rally. A rally that consisted of A-State reliever faulting and allowing both Darien McLemore and Ryan Bottger to walk to first base. Then Matt Shortall would step up to plate to double to right center thus scoring both McLemore and Bottger. The game would then be capped off with the Maverick win with a score of 8-7.

Thus setting the field up for a Ragin Cajun vs. Maverick Championship match. #1 vs. #2.

UTA looks to continue their winning streak, which currently stands at 10, which is the longest win streak by the program since 1990. ULL looks to remain relentless towards the Mavericks as they have been with every team this season. The Ragin Cajuns won the regular season series against the Mavs 2-1, allowing UTA to score five runs in each of the contests. ULL is 26-4 in the SBC, while UTA is 22-11. The two squads will battle it out to claim the rights to the SBC crown today at 1 PM. For ULL, a win will simply mean the Sun Belt is a one-bid school for the NCAA baseball tournament. But, if UTA wins, the conference will be a two tricky pony.