Cajuns jump on Rebels in opener

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Louisiana-Lafayette players rush the field after a home run by Tyler Girouard in the third inning.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Louisiana-Lafayette players rush the field after a home run by Tyler Girouard in the third inning.

By Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

LAFAYETTE, La. – Louisiana-Lafayette punished Ole Miss for its pitching mistakes, and the No. 6-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns are a win away from the College World Series.

ULL didn’t get its first hit until the third inning, but with Ole Miss ace Chris Ellis issuing free bases the Cajuns were already on the board.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Ole Miss pitcher Chris Ellis walked five and gave up a three-run home run in the third inning on Saturday night.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Ole Miss pitcher Chris Ellis walked five and gave up a three-run home run in the third inning on Saturday night.

They chased Ellis out of the game in a hurry, then peppered the Rebels’ bullpen in a 9-5 win before a rowdy capacity crowd at 3,755-seat Moore Field Saturday night.

ULL had 11 hits. Ellis allowed three walks, hit a batter and was gone after 21⁄3 innings. Jeremy Massie went four innings and didn’t allow a free base but gave up nine hits. It was the second loss of the season for Ellis (10-2).

In search of its first College World Series berth since 1972, Ole Miss (44-19) must win tonight to force a decisive third game on Monday and keep its season alive.

First pitch is 8 p.m., and the game is again on ESPN2.

The Lafayette explosion deflated an Ole Miss team that grabbed the early momentum with big hits and a three-run second inning. However, the Rebels lost the lead in the flip of a pirogue.

ULL (58-8) got on the board in the second when it seemed like Ellis would get out of the inning with a high fly ball to center fielder Auston Bousfield, but Bousfield dropped it, and a run scored.

The Cajuns then took over with a five-run third inning, chasing Ellis along the way.

After the Bousfield error let a run score, Ellis ended the second inning with a swinging strikeout, but he had issues the rest of the way.

Behind in the count

Even while getting out of the second with only one run scored, Ellis was falling behind hitters.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Ole Miss center fielder Auston Bousfield drops what would have been the third out in the second inning. The error allowed a run to score.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Ole Miss center fielder Auston Bousfield drops what would have been the third out in the second inning. The error allowed a run to score.

After a leadoff walk in the third, the Cajuns were less inclined to use an out to advance the runner. Their patience was rewarded.

The next two batters reached base with a hit batsman and a walk. A ground ball drove in ULL’s second run, setting the stage for a three-run home run to right field from Girouard.

It was the only hit allowed by Ellis, but it left the park like a heat-seeking missile, and the Cajuns led 5-3.

Jeremy Massie relieved Ellis and needed four batters to get the last two outs, something that didn’t happen before ULL scored its sixth run on a balk.

ULL added three runs in the fifth, one of them a towering home run from Dylan Butler that went half-way up the Cadillac sign that looks down over left field.

Bousfield had two hits for Ole Miss. Orvis had a double and narrowly missed a home run that was caught at the wall in left field.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com