Cajuns Take Care Of Marshall In SBC Series Opener, 3-1

LAFAYETTE – Solo home runs by Lee Amedee and Conor Higgs broke up a scoreless contest in the fourth inning and the Friday night tandem of Andrew Herrmann and LP Langevin combined on a five-hitter with 12 strikeouts to carry No. 19-ranked Louisiana past Marshall, 3-1, in the opening game of a Sun Belt Conference series at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

The win by Louisiana (26-9, 12-1 SBC) was its 12th straight in conference play, tying a school-record set in 2010 and two shy of the all-time SBC record (14) set by South Florida in 1986.

The series resumes on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with fans able to listen to the game in the Lafayette area on KPEL-FM (96.5) and worldwide on the Varsity Network app.

Chase Morgan (3-1, 2.34 ERA), ranked third in the SBC in ERA will start on the mound for Louisiana while left-hander Bryce Blevins (2-0, 1.68), the SBC leader in ERA, will start for Marshall (12-20, 5-8 SBC).

In what turned out to be a pitcher’s duel into the seventh inning between Herrmann and the Thundering Herd’s Drew Harlow, it was Louisiana’s bats which managed to break a scoreless battle in the fourth and provide all the runs it would need.

Amedee gave Louisiana a 1-0 lead when his one-out, opposite-field shot to left-center field just cleared the fence for his third home run of the season. Two batters later, Higgs smacked his fifth homer of the season as he gave the Ragin’ Cajuns to 2-0 lead with a blast to right-center.

“What a great Friday night game,” Louisiana head coach Matt Deggs said. “I thought their kid (Marshall starter Drew Harlow) pitched his heart out and had a good, riding fastball that was hard to get to.

“Lee let us really take a breath with the oppo-jack and (Conor) Higgs had a big night which we needed out of him.”

Higgs, who went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Louisiana’s eight-hit attack, added a second-inning double before reaching on a two-out dribbler that hit third base for a single.

Herrmann (4-1) kept Marshall off-balance before Gio Ferraro’s leadoff homer in the seventh before a one-out double to left from Tre Hondras chased the left-hander. Langevin walked his first two batters to allow the Thundering Herd to load the bases, but the right-hander came back to fan pinch-hitter Calin Smith and Jake Sparks to end the threat.

“Andrew was just same song, different verse … he kept them off-balance for most of the ballgame,” said Deggs. “LP (Langevin) came in and slammed the door right there and finished strong for us and that’s been our formula and it’s been working.”

Caleb Stelly hit a one-out double in the bottom of the seventh to chase Harlow (5-4), who struck out nine and scattered seven hits in 6.1 innings. Stelly would move to third on a failed pickoff attempt and would score when John Taylor placed a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt up the first base line for a 3-1 lead.

Langevin struck out seven in 2.2 innings of hitless relief to notch his fifth save of the year for Louisiana. Herrmann scattered five hits and struck out five for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who improved to 12-1 this season when holding an opponent to two runs or less.

Stelly and Trey LaFleur added two hits each for Louisiana, which stranded six runners on base.

Cam Harthan went 2-for-4 to lead Marshall at the plate with Owen Ayers adding a single.

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