No Sun Belt title yet as UL-Lafayette drops finale to Arkansas State

JONESBORO, Ark. — The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team will have to wait a few more days to celebrate a conference title.

Arkansas State’s three-run seventh inning was the difference as the Ragin’ Cajuns fell 6-4 in Sunday’s series finale at Tomlinson Stadium.

A three-game sweep in the series would have handed the Cajuns (43-7, 20-4) the Sun Belt Conference title. Instead, they’ll get their first shot at wrapping up at least a share of the crown at 6:30 p.m. Friday at South Alabama.

“We let this game get away from us,” coach Tony Robichaux said. “We needed someone to stand up and get an out today, and we failed to do so.”

Senior Matt Hicks (5-1) was saddled with the loss after giving up a run in the seventh. Tyler Zuber (2-0) picked up the win for Arkansas State (27-21, 15-9) by throwing three scoreless innings of relief.

Both teams had six hits, led by the Cajuns’ Blake Trahan, who was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and a walk. Stuart Levy and Zach Maggio each had two hits for Arkansas State; Levy added a game-high three RBIs.

In the third inning, the Cajuns’ Michael Strentz scored the first run on a wild pitch. He reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to third after Jace Conrad was hit by a pitch and Seth Harrison walked.

The Cajuns jumped to a 3-0 edge in the fourth. Chase Compton scored the first run on a throwing error by pitcher Tanner Gaines. Trahan brought home the second run on a squeeze bunt that scored Ryan Wilson.

The Red Wolves answered with two runs in the bottom half on an RBI single by Levy and a bases-loaded walk by Lucas Feddersen.

Trahan drove in his second run in the sixth by singling in Compton to make it 4-2. Compton led off with a double to right and then moved to third on a sac bunt by Wilson.

Arkansas State took its first lead of the series in the seventh by scoring three runs on a hit, three walks and a hit batter. The Red Wolves cut the advantage to 4-3 on a bases-load walk by Matt Burgess. In the next at-bat, Levy doubled down the left-field line to score two more.

Maggio scored on a wild pitch in the eighth to set the final margin.

The Cajuns threatened in the ninth. With a runner on first, Tyler Girouard flied out to deep right. The Cajuns ended up with runners on second and third and two outs after a Caleb Adams walk and a wild pitch, but Zuber got Compton to hit a grounder back to him to end the game.