Last Modified: Tuesday, April 02, 2013 10:06 PM
LAFAYETTE — When it became a battle of the bullpens, the scale tipped into Louisiana-Lafayette’s favor against McNeese State on Tuesday night at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were 8-5 winners thanks to a three-run seventh-inning rally against McNeese reliever Tyler Parke that kept the Cowboys (17-10) from their first victory at ULL since 2005.
“We’re not a bad baseball team. I think we’re playing all right,” said McNeese coach Terry Burrows. “We just had a couple miscues. I was proud of the way we played.”
Parke (2-1) entered the game with a 2.66 earned run average in nine appearances. Burrows viewed Tuesday’s performance as having more to do with ULL’s hitting than Parke’s pitching — 10 of Parke’s 12 pitches were strikes.
“Tyler didn’t do a bad job,” Burrows said. “They just got a couple seeing-eye hits.”
ULL (20-8) finished with five unanswered runs after McNeese took a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth.
The Cajuns cut the deficit to 5-4 on Caleb Adams’ solo homer off McNeese starter Jason Gibson.
Parke entered and escaped a jam to get the final out in the sixth before the Cajuns rallied with a swath of singles in the seventh. ULL took a 7-5 lead on four singles and a double.
The Cajuns added an insurance run off Lucas Quary in the eighth.
That insurance didn’t end up being needed thanks to the work of ULL’s bullpen. Matt Hicks and Seth Harrison combined to allow two hits in the final 3 1/3 innings after the Cowboys touched starter Chase Traffica for five runs on seven hits in the first 5 2/3.
Matt Williams continued to wave a hot bat for McNeese, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Williams is 11 of 18 (.611) with seven RBIs in his last five games.
“He’s playing hard and giving us some good at-bats,” Burrows said. “Hopefully he can just keep playing well.”
Second baseman Hans Ask is also heating up. A sacrifice fly and two-run triple gave Ask his second three-RBI game in the last three games.
ULL’s most productive hit was also its shortest. Two runs scored on a suicide squeeze in the fifth when Tyler Klouser was unable to pick up Harrison’s perfectly executed drag bunt down the third-base line. Kinder grad Blake Trahan scored from third and Jace Conrad made it home from second base when he noticed Klouser did not field it cleanly.
“It was a perfect bunt,” Burrows said. “But you can’t compound the problem by making a mistake. Tyler’s going to be fine, he just tried to do too much with it and it was aggressive baserunning.”