MONROE, La. - A five-run second inning and steady pitching down the stretch gave the ULM baseball team a 7-5 victory over UL-Lafayette on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Warhawk Field.
Five ULM (13-8, 1-2) hitters recorded two base hits in the game, with Joey Rapp adding two RBIs and Corben Green two runs scored.
Dylan Butler roped a single to left field to plate Chris Sinclair and get the Ragin' Cajuns (12-8, 2-1) within three at 7-4 in the top of the eighth inning. A Chase Compton sacrifice fly off Fraser Adams closed the gap to 7-5, but Adams forced Tyler Frederick to ground out to Jeremy Sy at shortstop, stranding Butler at second base.
Adams retired Daniel Nichols and Jace Conrad before Ryan Leonards drove a two-out single through the left side in the top of the ninth inning. Wil Browning entered from the bullpen and struck out pinch hitter Nick Jones swinging to earn his fourth save of the season.
UL-Lafayette took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on an RBI single from Butler that scored Tyler Girouard from second base. ULM starter Cale Wine (4-1) struck out Compton swinging for the inning's second out. An infield single from Frederick and a full count walk to Nichols loaded the bases for the Ragin' Cajuns. A fielder's choice to the shortstop Sy ended the UL-Lafayette threat.
Wine surrendered three earned runs in his five full innings of work, striking out one batter for his team-leading fourth win of 2012.
Girouard smacked a two-run double to the gap in right center field with one man away in the top of the second inning, scoring Leonards and Brian Bowman to give UL-Lafayette a 3-0 advantage. Wine buckled down and retired the final two batters he faced to escape the frame trailing by three (3-0).
Green led off the bottom of the second inning with a sharp hit through the left side that got the ULM offense rolling. Judd Edwards was hit by a pitch and Taylor Abdalla drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases. A wild pitch from Joe Zimmermann (0-1) scored Green from third base and brought the Warhawks within two runs (3-1). A base hit to center field from Logan Fiasco plated Abdalla for the inning's second run, and a bunt single down the right field line from Les Aulds tied the game at 3-3. A single into left field off the bat of Rapp scored both Caleb Clowers and Sy to give ULM its first lead of the afternoon (5-3).
The Ragin' Cajuns answered with two-out base hits from Conrad and Leonards to extend the top of the third. Sinclair roped a sharp liner down the right field line that was knocked down by the first baseman Green to end the UL-Lafayette half of the inning.
Compton ripped a two-out offering through the right side off ULM reliever Shelby Aulds in the top of the sixth inning. A Frederick fly out to Rapp in right field ensured the fourth straight scoreless half inning for UL-Lafayette.
Les Aulds reached first on a Compton error to begin the sixth inning, and a balk from UL-Lafayette reliever Cord Cockrell moved Aulds to second. A base hit to left field off the bat of Clowers drove in Aulds and made it 6-3 ULM.
Green opened the bottom of the seventh frame with a single to right field, then moved to third base following an Edwards sacrifice bunt and a single from Abdalla. A sacrifice fly to center by Brandon Alexander was deep enough to bring in Green and push the Warhawk lead to 7-3.
Leonards led all hitters with a 4-for-5 afternoon for UL-Lafayette, while Girouard and Butler each chipped in three hits and two RBIs apiece. Zimmermann allowed five earned runs in 1.2 innings to take his first loss of the season.
ULM returns to Warhawk Field Wednesday night when it hosts McNeese State in non-conference action. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.