Three ULL pitchers outduel UTSA, 2-1

LAFAYETTE — After two days of slugfests with Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana-Lafayette’s baseball team won a classic pitchers’ duel Sunday.

Sophomore Austin Robichaux and juniors Ryan Wilson and Matt Hicks combined to check UTSA on five hits, and their Ragin’ Cajun teammates made single runs in the first and third innings stand up in a 2-1 victory at M. L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

The win wrapped up a weekend sweep for the Cajuns (7-1), who had taken 18-6 and 9-6 wins on Friday and Saturday.

“A win’s a win,” said Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux, whose squad hosts LSU at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“As a team, we’ve got to learn how to win different ways. And one like this is the toughest way to win.”

Son Austin Robichaux (1-0) locked up in a duel with UTSA senior right-hander Clint Sharp, who allowed six hits and the two runs through 6.2 innings.

Robichaux scattered four hits in six innings, and the only run he allowed the Roadrunners (5-3) came in the second inning when Horacio Correa drew a two-out walk — the only walk Robichaux issued — and Rodney Garza followed with a long double into the right-field gap.

Robichaux allowed only one runner past first base over the next four innings.

Daniel Rockett and John Bormann led off the third and fourth innings with singles, but Rockett was caught stealing, and Bormann was erased on a double play.

After hitting Garza and John Welborn to open the fifth, Robichaux retired the next six batters in order before being replaced by Wilson to start the seventh.

“Austin did a great job of bending and not breaking,” Tony Robichaux said of the 86-pitch effort that included 61 strikes.

“They’re a very good hitting team, and they got some guys on base, and we helped them out a couple of times. The nice thing is that we’re starting to overcome the critical mistakes that might have done us in last year.”

The Cajuns scratched for their only runs early. Sharp hit Seth Harrison with a pitch with two outs in the first inning. After Harrison stole second, Michael Strentz lined a single up the middle that gave ULL the early 1-0 lead.

After UTSA tied the game in the second, Harrison led off the third inning with a double in the right-field gap for the Cajuns’ only extra-base hit.

He moved to third on Strentz’s fly ball to right, and scored the eventual winning run on Chase Compton’s infield grounder.

From then on, ULL didn’t get a runner past second base, and Sharp retired 14 of 16 batters in one stretch before an error and Harrison’s single — his 10th straight time reaching base in the series — put two runners on base in the seventh. UTSA reliever Wesley Cox, who was touched for five hits and three runs in just over two innings in Saturday’s loss, struck out Strentz to end that inning and retired three in a row in the eighth.

UTSA entered the weekend series with a 5-0 record and was hitting .429 as a team, but Robichaux said his team’s Tuesday test against the Tigers would be its toughest so far this season.

“They just play quality baseball,” he said. “That’s why they have sellout crowds. It’s going to be a good game for our fans.”