LAFAYETTE, La. - Louisiana took an early lead and a late Blue Raider comeback bid fell short as the Middle Tennessee baseball team fell to the Ragin' Cajuns 4-3 on Sunday afternoon at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field in Lafayette, La.
Matt Drake and Ryan Ford fueled the Middle Tennessee offense, which actually outhit Louisiana 8-5 on the day. Both Drake and Ford were 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored with Ford also batting in a run.
Will Skinner ended the day 1-for-3 with a walk and a run. Hank LaRue finished 1-for-4 with a two-run single in the seventh to put Middle Tennessee within striking distance late.
Eric Gilley got the start on the mound for MT, and gave up four runs (one unearned) on three hits over four innings of work. Drake and Paul Mittura combined to hold the Ragin' Cajuns scoreless over the final four frames.
Middle Tennessee once again played outstanding defense behind the mound, converting three double plays for the second straight day.
Louisiana (29-23, 16-11 SBC) grabbed the first lead of the ball game with a run in the opening frame, and after Middle Tennessee stranded the bases loaded in the second, the Ragin' Cajuns posted two more to take a 3-0 advantage.
The Blue Raiders (17-35, 8-19 SBC) got on the board in the fourth. Skinner led things off with a double and advanced to third on a Drake single to left, ultimately scoring on a Ford sacrifice fly.
Louisiana reclaimed the run an inning later, and Middle Tennessee mounted a response with a pair of scores in the seventh to cut the deficit to one at 4-3. Drake and Ford led off by being hit by a pitch and singling, respectively. Back-to-back outs endangered the rally, but LaRue didn't let the opportunity go to waste, knocking a single up the middle to bring home the runs.
Middle Tennessee will now begin to prepare for their final series of the season, hosting rival Western Kentucky at Reese Smith Jr. Field. The Blue Raiders and Hilltoppers will begin on Thursday with first pitch set for 6 p.m.