In last season’s Sun Belt tournament championship game, UL Lafayette’s Wyatt Marks pitched seven shutout innings in getting the Ragin’ Cajuns past Georgia Southern.
Marks was again waiting for the Eagles - this time at the back of the bullpen - as he tossed the final two innings to cap a 3-0 ULL win over Georgia Southern in Friday night’s series opener in Louisiana.
Georgia Southern (30-16, 13-9 Sun Belt) spent most of its night flailing at the pitches offered up by UL Lafayette starter Gunner Leger. The Cajuns’ ace regained his place amongst the nation’s win leaders, notching his ninth victory of the season at the Eagles’ expense. Leger was on cruise control for much of the night, working through seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits while striking out six.
The Eagles’ offense has been up and down throughout the season, but couldn’t compete with Leger and Marks. No Georgia Southern player reached third base in the game and Ryan Cleveland was the only Eagle to make it as far as second, reaching the bag with two outs in the fifth before Leger closed out the inning one batter later.
A week after his best outing of the season, Georgia Southern starter Evan Challenger was again solid, but blinked a few too many times in his eight innings of work to outduel the ULL arms. Challenger went the distance for the Eagles, fanning eight Cajuns.
The Eagle lefty’s only misstep came in the fourth inning. Joe Robbins slapped a one-out single and — after Challenger retired the next batter — Kennon Fontenot lofted a fly ball over the fence in right for a two-run blast.
In the next inning, Brad Antchak led off the frame by reaching base on an error. Challenger retired the next two batters that should have gotten him out of the inning, but Brenn Conrad ripped a two-out double to bring home Antchak for a 3-0 lead that held the rest of the way.
Georgia Southern will try to even the series tonight when the two squads meet again. Chase Cohen has been the Sunday starter for most of the season, but will see Saturday action against the Cajuns as he looks for a repeat performance of his complete game victory over Little Rock last week.