Cajuns drop opener to Texas in Coral Gables Regional, 4-2

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Porter Brown’s two-out single capped a two-run sixth inning and All-American Lucas Gordon scattered five hits and struck out eight as No. 15-ranked Texas defeated Louisiana, 4-2, in the opening game of the NCAA Coral Gables Regional on Friday at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

Louisiana (40-23) will face Maine in an elimination game on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT. 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) or worldwide on the Varsity Network app.

Gordon (7-1), the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, pitched 7.0 innings for Texas (39-20) and was aided by a pair of stellar defensive plays which prevented four potential runs by the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Louisiana put runners on the corners in a scoreless fourth inning when Carson Roccaforte singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on Conor Higgs’ single through the right side with one out.

After Gordon got a strikeout for the second out of the inning, centerfielder Eric Kennedy would make a leaping grab of John Taylor’s potential home run.

Louisiana would break the ice in the sixth after Gordon retired the first two batters, including Dylan Campbell’s diving grab in right field to rob Roccaforte of extra bases. Heath Hood would reach on a two-out double before Higgs lined a single to left field to drive in Hood and give Louisiana a 1-0 lead.

Texas would take a 2-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning beginning when Mitchell Daly hit a 0-and-2 fastball from Louisiana starter Jackson Nezuh (9-6) to lead off the inning. After a walk to Jared Thomas, Campbell would extend his hit streak to a Big 12-record 36 games with a one-out single to left before Brown’s two-out single through the right side scored Thomas for the go-ahead run.

The Longhorns added two more runs in the seventh as Campbell hit a two-out double to left to drive in Daly and Thomas.

Zane Morehouse pitched the final 2.0 innings for Texas to earn the save. The right-hander gave up a solo home run to Roccaforte in the eighth inning and got out a jam after Hood reached on a single by getting Higgs to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

Nezuh struck out five batters and allowed four hits for Louisiana before being relieved by Blake Marshall in the sixth. Cooper Rawls and JT Etheridge pitched the final 2.0 innings for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Roccaforte, Hood and Higgs led Louisiana at the plate with two hits each. Kyle DeBarge added a first-inning single for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

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