By Logan Lowery
LAFAYETTE, La. – Mississippi State had the scenario it wanted with ace Ross Mitchell taking the hill and needing just one more win to advance ahead to a super regional.
However, top-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette had other ideas.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, who had eliminated Jackson State 11-1 already on Sunday, chased Mitchell after just three innings by plating six runs.
ULL’s bats continued to stay hot the rest of the way, cruising to a 14-8 victory and setting up a decisive Game 7 of the Lafayette Regional at 6 p.m. today.
“We knew the guy (Mississippi State) was throwing was going to be the same type of guy, same arm as Jackson State threw in the first game,” said ULL center fielder Seth Harrison. “We had a good idea of what our approach needed to be. We wanted to come show them whose field this is, whose home this is, and we gave it to them tonight.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns (56-8) racked up 18 hits and were paced at the plate by Jace Conrad’s 3-for-5 performance, which included a home run and three runs batted in.
Louisiana-Lafayatte scored at least one run in each of the first six innings, including a six spot in the fourth.
After falling behind 3-0, the Bulldogs were able to battle back to tie the score in the top of the third. However, ULL scored nine runs in their next two at bats and had built a 14-3 lead by the end of the sixth.
“You can’t give Lafayette enough credit, they did a great job,” said MSU skipper John Cohen. “They swung the bat well and had a good game plan.”
Cody Boutte improved to 9-0, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and two walks.
The Diamond Dogs finished with 14 hits, led by Brett Pirtle, who went 4-for-5 with a double and three RBI. C.T. Bradord was 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Seth Heck was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.
Wes Rea went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI as State dropped to 39-23 on the year.
“We know we’re going to have to play (today) like it’s our last,” Bradford said. “We’re going to get after it, I can promise you that.”
The Bulldogs plan to use a pair of left-handers – Lucas Laster and Jacob Lindgren – in today’s do-or-die outing. Laster (0-0, 1.97 ERA) will make his fourth start while Lindgren, the first team All-SEC performer, awaits his first opportunity in the regional.
Senior southpaw Ryan Wilson (5-0, 1.69 ERA) is expected to make his sixth start on the mound for Louisiana-Lafayette.