Elimination games always ratchet up the pressure.
Louisiana baseball seized the opportunity while No. 5 Texas State folded. UL plated two runs off Bobcat errors early, proving to be the difference. UL went on to survive, 12-6, in the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament loser’s bracket Friday night at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Alabama.
The No. 4 Ragin’ Cajuns (38-21) advance to the semifinals of the conference tournament and will face Coastal Carolina on Saturday (12:30 p.m., ESPN+).
RAGIN’ CAJUNS-TEXAS STATELouisiana baseball vs. Texas State: Sun Belt Conference Tournament live updates
UL FALLS TO COASTAL CAROLINALouisiana baseball falls to Coastal Carolina in Sun Belt Conference Tournament
LOUISIANA BEATS TEXAS STATELouisiana baseball downs Texas State in Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament
Louisiana baseball does its damage with runners on while Texas State struggles
Coming into the night, D1baseball.com projected Louisiana among its “First Four Out” in its NCAA Tournament projections, so Matt Deggs’ squad needed a win in the worst way.
The Cajuns, when they needed it most, had their best offensive performance with runners on base. Led by its top three hitters, Max Marusak, Kyle DeBarge and Carson Roccaforte, UL hit .333 with baserunners, .333 with runners in scoring position as well as .375 with two outs.
Those marks were the highest for the Sun Belt Tourney so far for Louisiana.
Carson Roccaforte, Conor Higgs catching fire at Sun Belt Conference Tournament for Ragin’ Cajuns
Roccaforte has had a roller coaster of a 2023 season. But in Montgomery, the switch hitter has found something. The senior tied the school record for doubles in a single season with 25, drove in Louisiana’s first two runs Friday facing elimination in his first two at-bats, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single. He finished the game 2-for-3 with five RBIs, including a three-run double in the ninth, and a run.
Behind him in the lineup, sophomore Conor Higgs helped keep UL’s offense thriving. Higgs went 2-for-6 with three RBIs.
Louisiana baseball completes sweep of Texas State
With the win Friday, UL pulled off a rarity in baseball, defeating a team five times in a season. The Cajuns outscored the Bobcats, 42-18, in five meetings this season with no game finishing within three runs.
Louisiana won both games in the Sun Belt Tournament, where it held Texas State to seven runs over two contests.
Cory Diaz covers the LSU Tigers and Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for The Daily Advertiser as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his Tigers and Cajuns coverage on Twitter: @ByCoryDiaz. Got questions regarding LSU/UL athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org.