Tony Robichaux reaches 1,000 wins as Louisiana-Lafayette bests Alabama
HOOVER, Ala. -- Louisiana-Lafayette head coach Tony Robichaux notched his 1,000th career victory on Saturday as his Cajuns defeated No. 25 Alabama 6-5 at the Hoover Met to even the series with the Crimson Tide.
With the victory, Robichaux becomes the 17th active Division I head coach to post 1,000 career victories and is 10 wins away from reaching the top 50 all-time in career wins.
"The important thing to me is that all of these wins have come at a mid-major school, and we have had to claw and fight for every one of them," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "I have been fortunate to have some great coaches help me reach this milestone bringing in good class after good class. I've also been fortunate to see well over 100 of those wins come with my two sons on the team."
Junior Colton Lee was outstanding in relief for the Ragin' Cajuns (5-5) throwing three scoreless innings to close out the ball game and earn his third save of the season. Lee had three strikeouts in the contest.
Reliever Riley Cooper improved to 2-0 on the year after coming into the game in the sixth and recorded a big strikeout to end the Alabama threat.
Thomas Burrows was saddled with the loss for the Crimson Tide (7-3) allowing the game-winning run in the seventh on two hits with two walks and struck out five in 2.1 innings.
"This team is growing up," Robichaux said. "We had so many chances to let this one get away from us, but we held tough in pressure situations to get the win. It certainly wasn't pretty, but we needed to get weathered against a good ball club. This was a great chance for us to do just that."
The Tide and Cajuns each had 11 hits in the contest. Junior catcher Nick Thurman had a career day at the plate going 4-for-5 with two doubles and drove in two. All four of Thurman's hits came with two strikes as both the four hits and two doubles are career highs for Thurman.
"I'm really proud of Nick," Robichaux added. "This is what we expected of him when we brought him in. He had to play behind Mike Strentz the last two years, and now that he is getting more chances to play he is doing something about it."
Senior Greg Davis also posted a pair of doubles and two RBI in the game, while Stefan Trosclair had a 2-for-3 effort at the plate.
Mikey White led the way for Alabama offensively going 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI. Casey Hughstrom had three of the Crimson Tide's six doubles on the afternoon.
The Ragin' Cajuns took their first lead of the series in the top of the second as Joe Robbins brought home Tyler Girouard on a ball hit to center field to make the score 1-0.
Robbins made a big play in the field in the bottom of the third when he threw out Bama catcher Will Haynie at the plate from centerfield on a single up the middle by Chandler Avant to preserve the 1-0 advantage for the Cajuns.
Louisiana extended the lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth on a pair of RBI doubles by Davis and Thurman.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Tide registered a five-run inning to take a 5-3 edge in the game. Chance Vincent brought home J. C. Wilhite for the first run of the inning on a sac fly to right center. With two outs and the bases loaded, White sent a double down the left field line to clear the bases and give Alabama a 4-3 lead. Hughston tallied the final run of the inning as he doubled home White.
The Cajuns regained the lead in the top of the seventh plating three runs on four hits to go ahead 6-5. Davis pulled Louisiana within a run as he sent a two-out double to right to score Brenn Conrad from first base. In the next at bat, Girouard singled throught the left side of the infield to score Davis and even the contest.
Thurman came through with the eventual game-winning hit as he singled home Girouard from second to make the score 6-5. Girouard made a heads up base running play as he was able to move up to second on the throw home by Ryan Blanchard who was trying to cut down Davis.
Robbins made another crucial play in the field in the bottom of the ninth. With one out and White on first, Hughston sent a double into right field. The relay throw missed the cutoff on its way back to the infield, which caused White to take off for home. Robbins, who had moved to third base in the ninth, was able to scoop up the errant throw and made a strong, accurate throw to plate to cut down White at the plate for the second out of the inning.
Hughston made his way to third on the play, but would be stranded there as Lee induced a ground ball out by Kyle Overstreet to short to end the contest.