Holt’s blast sends Warhawks past Cajuns, 7-6

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LAFAYETTE, La. – Mason Holt hit a 2-run home run to right field with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the ULM Warhawks held on for the 7-6 win over the Ragin’ Cajuns Tuesday night at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.

It was ULM’s first win in Lafayette since 2012. The game between the Sun Belt Conference rivals was a non-conference contest, meaning the game does not count toward the SBC standings.

“I’m super proud of our team for persevering and fighting and scratching and clawing,” ULM head coach Michael Federico said. “Trace Henry has a two-out walk and then Holt hits the bolt.”

“It felt good,” Holt said of his ninth-inning homer, his fifth of the season. “They got us three other times this season. We were pretty hungry to come out and beat them today. We executed everything, had no errors and won the game.”

With the game deadlocked at five entering the ninth inning, Ragin’ Cajun pitcher David Christie quickly retired the first two Warhawk hitters of the inning. He then issued a four-pitch walk to Trace Henry, giving Holt the opportunity to put ULM on top.

“After that four-pitch walk and then the coach came out to meet, the rule of thumb is always got to look to swing at that first pitch after the meeting because it’s probably going to be right there,” Holt said. “I was looking for a fastball that I could handle and it worked out.”

Holt’s homer put ULM up 7-5.

Carson Roccaforte worked a leadoff walk against ULM’s Landon Longsworth in the bottom of the ninth and moved to second on CJ Willis’ single to center, prompting Federico to bring Lucas Wepf out of the bullpen. Wepf struck out Taylor Robertson before walking Brennan Breaux on four pitches. A pair of wild pitches to Breaux allowed Roccaforte to cut the deficit to 7-6 and moved Willis to third base. After Breaux stole second base without a throw, Wepf struck out Nick Hagedorn on called strike three to end the game for his third save.

The Cajuns struck first in the third inning as Roccaforte’s RBI single brought in Josh Cofield for the 1-0 lead. Ben Fitzgerald also tried to score on the play, but was thrown out at home by ULM’s Trace Henry.

The Warhawks dealt the Cajuns a big blow with a four-run fifth inning. Travis Washburn led off with an infield single and Grant Schulz followed with a single through the left side. Logan Wurm laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Cajun first baseman Breaux scooped up the ball and threw wildly to third base, allowing Washburn to score to tie the game at 1. With two outs and the bases loaded, a wild pitch brought home Schulz for the 2-1 lead. Holt hit a bloop single to left field to bring home Wurm and Colby Deaville for the 4-1 lead.

“We got a little wind in our sail and we were kind of rolling a little bit,” Federico said. “Mason fisted a ball out there. Nothing huge or anything like that. Grant Schulz had a couple of big hits to the back side of the field with two strikes. Colby Deaville had a really good walk when he was down 0-2 and got a walk. There was some positive things that happened in that inning.”

The Cajuns answered with four runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning. Brett Borgogno’s RBI single cut the gap to 4-2. Cofield tied the game with a 2-RBI single to bring home Willis and Breaux. The Cajuns regained the lead on Drake Osborn’s RBI single to plate Borgogno, 5-4.

ULM responded back in the top of the seventh inning. Henry led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Holt’s ground ball to the right side of the infield. Henry scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 5.

Longsworth (1-2) threw 2 1/3 innings for his first win of the season, giving up one run on one hit with three walks and one strikeout. Wepf threw the final 2/3 of an inning with a walk and two strikeouts for his third save. Steve Owings pitched 3 2/3 innings in the start for ULM, allowing a run on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

“Pitching-wise, we weren’t great tonight,” Federico said. “Me, personally, I probably wasn’t as sharp as I need to be to help our team out. We didn’t execute some pitches. Stevie gave us a chance and an opportunity. We walked too many people. That’s why we kept them in the game a little bit. They had 11 hits, but we gave them eight walks. There was a lot of traffic on tonight.”

Holt had two hits and four RBIs, while Schulz, the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week and Louisiana Sports Writers Association Hitter of the Week, added three more hits to give him 10 hits over the last four games.

The Warhawks visit Appalachian State for a three-game weekend series beginning at 5 p.m. EDT/4 p.m. CDT in Boone, North Carolina. Links to live video, audio and stats are available at ULMWarhawks.com.

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