MONROE — Chase Compton snapped an eighth-inning tie with a grand slam, and Louisiana-Lafayette team secured a series win over ULM with a 13-4 victory Friday night at Warhawk Field.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (37-17, 18-11 Sun Belt) kept pace with Florida Atlantic and remained in the No. 3 slot for next week’s Sun Belt Conference tournament at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field in Lafayette. The victory also kept alive chances that ULL could climb as high as the No. 2 seed.
The Cajuns out their series with ULM (18-35, 7-22) and the regular season at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Cajuns will attempt to sweep their in-state rival for the second time this season.
Three consecutive two-out walks issued by ULM starting pitcher Cale Wine preceded Compton’s eighth inning at-bat. Wine was lifted for reliever Carey Taylor after starting out Compton with a 2-1 count.
Compton fouled off Taylor’s first pitch to even the count, then Taylor missed high on the next pitch, bringing the count to 3-2. Compton fouled off the next pitch before connecting on the next offering, driving the ball over the fence in right-center field to clear the bases for an 8-4 lead.
ULL loaded the bases in the ninth inning with three consecutive singles to lead off against ULM reliever Chad Miller. The Cajuns tacked on five more runs to put the game out of reach.
Compton’s grand slam and the five-run ninth inning put the finishing touches on the Cajuns’ second rally in as many nights.
The Warhawks had built a 4-1 advantage with two unearned runs scored without a hit in the third inning and a Judd Edwards two-run home run in the fourth inning.
The Cajuns, held scoreless by Wine over the first three innings, began chipping away at the Warhawks lead in the middle innings starting with a Dylan Butler sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth.
On first pitch of the top of the fifth, Jace Conrad homered to left field to trim the Cajuns deficit to 4-2. Caleb Adams and Blake Trahan led off the sixth inning with back-to-back singles and later crossed home plate via a Michael Strentz RBI single and Conrad RBI grounder to forge a 4-4 tie.
Cord Cockrell, Ben Frith and Kendall Mayer combined for four innings of scoreless relief while the Cajuns finished off the rally. Cockrell, the first to pitch after the Cajuns drew even, retired all five batters that he faced before giving way to Frith who secured the final out of the seventh inning. Mayer tossed the final 1.2 innings, holding ULM hitless while collecting three strikeouts.
Dex Kjerstad hit a two-run home run that closed out the scoring in the ninth inning. Kjerstad finished 3-for-5, giving him his 14th game with at least three hits.
Strentz added an RBI double in the ninth inning for his 20th double of the season, making him the first Cajun since Jonathan Lucroy in 2006 to reach 20 doubles.
Strentz finished 3-for-4 for his 14th multiple-hit game of the season.
Adams, Tyler Girouard, Seth Harrison and Trahan each turned in two hits as ULL piled up 17 in posting its 32nd game of double-digit hits in 2013.
Cody Boutte, who did not factor in the decision, limited the Warhawks to five hits over five innings while surrendering two earned runs.
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