Louisiana-Lafayette took advantage of three early Bearkat errors and a late two-run homer to beat Sam Houston, 7-5, and end the Kats season. The Bearkats (38-22) finished another great year on a disappointing note, falling in the NCAA Regionals.
“I’m very proud for our team and our university,” said Bearkat head coach David Pierce. “It’s always tough if you don’t win the last one. You’re going to have this type of feeling for a while. You go from thinking a ball in the gap and you win the game to a fly ball out and the season is over. I’m so proud of what our players have done. It’s great to play in this kind of environment because it just makes our players more hungry.”
The game had a promising start as the Kats jumped on the Ragin’ Cajuns with three runs in the second inning. Left fielder Luke Plucheck got the inning started with a single. Shortstop Carter Burgess doubled off the left field wall to drive Plucheck in for the first run.
Right fielder Ryan O’Hearn singled to put runners on the corners. Designated hitter Spence Rahm hit into a fielder’s choice that Louisiana-Lafayette turned into two outs. Burgess was caught in a rundown and was tagged out trying to get back to third and O’Hearn was also tagged out advancing to third base.
Second baseman Ryan Farney salvaged the inning in a big way by hitting his first career home run. The two-run blast to left field gave the Bearkats a 3-0 lead.
The Ragin’ Cajuns would go to their bullpen after the second-inning homer. Reliever Matt Plitt struck out first baseman Jessie Plumlee to end the inning. Plitt would go on to retire the next 14 batters he faced. He wouldn’t allow a baserunner until the seventh, a single by O’Hearn.
The next two innings would be filled with miscues by the Bearkats. Third baseman Kevin Miller would commit two errors in the third inning to allow LLU to tie the game with three runs in the frame. An error on Burgess at short led off the fourth inning and the Cajuns made the Kats pay with two more runs.
Trailing 5-3 going to the ninth inning, left fielder Caleb Adams hit his second home run of the game to make the score 7-3.
Sam Houston didn’t go quietly in the bottom of the ninth. Catcher Anthony Azar led off by blasting a homer to the gap in left center to cut the lead to 7-4. After two quick outs Burgess walked and O’Hearn singled to chase Plitt from the game.
Designated hitter Shea Pierce got another run in by reaching on a fielder’s choice that ULL was unable to get an out on. Farney was hit by a pitch to load the bases and put the winning run on base.
Plumlee popped up to shallow left field and the ball nearly fell in for a base hit but the Cajun shortstop reached back to make the catch and end the game.