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Cajun Baseball run rules Nicholls, 13-3

LAFAYETTE – Jack Martinez scattered four hits and struck out a season-high six batters in his third start of the season while Duncan Pastore recorded his first four-hit game of the year as Louisiana used a pair of big innings to earn a seven-inning, 13-3 win over in-state opponent Nicholls on Tuesday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

Kyle DeBarge belted his ninth home run of the season while John Taylor drove in three runs and extended his hitting streak to 17 games as Louisiana (21-8) extended its win streak to 12 games – matching its streak set in 2016 when it claimed the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title and hosted the NCAA Lafayette Regional.

Nicholls, a 2023 NCAA Regional participant which entered the game ranked 12th national in batting average (.332), fell to 20-11 overall.

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“They (Nicholls) swing the bat good,” head coach Matt Deggs said. “I was impressed with them. I knew they were good coming in. We played them in the fall and they’ve got a good lineup, they’ve got good arms and I would expect them to win the league.

“Our hitters, 1 through 9 are truly functioning like a pack and every at-bat is just a grind. You saw them just capitalize on mistakes and turn nothing into opportunities and then keep innings going. They’ve bought into an approach and it’s not just one of two of them … it’s nine, 10, 11, 12 of them.”

After being retired in order on four pitches in the bottom of the first, Louisiana quickly opened a 2-0 lead after two innings when Lee Amedee led off with a walk off Nicholls starter Haden Luke before back-to-back doubles by Pastore and Conor Higgs.

Nicholls answered back with a pair of runs in the top of the third beginning when Edgar Alvarez doubled to extend his hitting streak to 21 games before scoring when no one covered home plate on Gerardo Villarreal’s dribbler in front of the plate.

The Colonels added a walk before Aaron Biediger’s double off Martinez bounced off the wall in left field and allowed Garrett Felix to score from first.

The deadlock would be short-lived as Louisiana sent nine men to the plate in the third inning before 11 batters went to the plate in fourth as the Ragin’ Cajuns erupted for 11 runs.

Amedee hit an RBI single to right off Nicholls reliever Dylan Farley (1-2) before Pastore hit his second double of the night to drive in DeBarge. Jose Torres drove in a run on a fielder’s choice before Caleb Stelly drew a bases-loaded walk and Taylor added a fielder’s choice for a 7-2 lead.

DeBarge homered off NSU reliever Dallis Moran to fuel a six-run inning for the Ragin’ Cajuns before Torres hit an RBI blooper down the right-field line to drive in Pastore. Josh Alexander added a two-run triple for Louisiana before Taylor tripled to right to drive in a pair of runs.

That was more than enough for Martinez (3-2), whose previous high in strikeouts (5) came in relief appearances against Tulane and Arkansas State. The right-hander worked out of a jam in the second inning after allowing two straight base runners before getting a pair of strikeouts and a grounder to end the frame.

Christie pitched the final 3.0 innings and struck out three to earn his second save of the season for Louisiana, which posted its fourth run-rule victory of the season and surpassed the 10-run mark for the fifth time in the past 10 games.

“Marty (Martinez) gave us a good start, he pitched more off his fastball which I wanted to see,” Deggs said. “Dave (Christie) is a safety valve for us, which I love because he’s going to throw strikes with stuff and he knows how to pitch with the lead.”

Farley, one of nine pitchers used by the Colonels, took the loss after allowing five runs on three hits in 0.1 innings. Luke allowed a pair of hits and two runs in 1.2 innings for Nicholls while three relievers – Sam Hill, Chase Richter and Cole Poirrier – each tossed a scoreless inning in relief.

Louisiana will return to Sun Belt Conference action beginning on Friday when it opens a three-game series against ULM. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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