LAFAYETTE, La. (SunBeltSports.org) - Third-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette defeated second-seeded South Alabama 12-2 in seven innings to advance to the school's first Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament title game on Saturday at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.
ULL southpaw Ryan Wilson (6-4) tossed a seven-inning complete game, after the contest was called due to the 10-run mercy rule. Wilson allowed just two runs on four hits, and struck out six without issuing a walk.
The Cajuns, the best hitting team in the SBC, knocked in 12 runs on 12 hits capitalizing on four Jaguar miscues on the day. ULL's Chase Compton and Seth Harrison led the way for the Cajuns as Compton knocked in three runs and Harrison two on a big fly to open the top stanza.
SBC Freshman of the Year, Blake Trahan, added two hits and two RBI for the Cajuns (41-17) who will face fourth-seeded Florida Atlantic in Sunday's championship game at 1 p.m. CT. Dex Kjerstad, the league leader in hits, added three more for the Cajuns in the win.
USA (42-18) ends its run at the tournament and will now await its fate as the NCAA Selection show will are Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU. The Jags, hopefuls for a Regional hosting bid, were playing their third game in 24 hours.
Jacob Noble (5-3) earned the loss for the Jags.
The Cajuns picked up two runs in each of the first two innings, the first pair on Harrison's home run scoring Jace Conrad who reached on a fielder's choice and Harrison whose towering shot cleared the left center-field wall.
ULL added two more in the top of the second inning. Ryan Leonards walked to lead off the inning and Michael Strentz hit a ground-rule double advancing Leonards to third. Trahan had a sacrifice fly to center scoring Leonards on the play and advancing Strentz to third. The Cajuns then went to the small ball as Compton would sacrifice bunt Strentz home.
The tournament hosts added two more runs in the fourth inning and another three in the fifth. Trahan singled and stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Jags. Compton then singled home Trahan. Kjerstad would single pushing Compton to third who would eventually score on a double-play.
Tyler Girouard flew out to left field to open the fifth inning. Caleb Adams would then single and advance to second on a groundout by Leonards. Strentz singled advancing Adams to third who scored on a throwing error which advanced Strentz to third as well. Trahan then hit a double down the left-field line scoring Strentz. Compton hit another double for the Cajuns, this time scoring Trahan from second.
The Cajuns added another run in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh giving the Cajuns a 10-run lead.
USA was unable to muster any offense in teh bottom half of the seventh ending the game by mercy rule.
Sunday's Championship game will be broadcast live at 1 p.m. CT by the Sun Belt Network which will air on CSS/CST.
The winner of the Championship game will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.