LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Little Rock raced out to an early lead against Louisiana at Gary Hogan Field, but the Ragin' Cajun bats came alive in the late innings, handing the Trojans the 16-10 defeat Saturday afternoon.
Little Rock falls to 6-13 on the year and 1-1 in Sun Belt Conference play while Louisiana improves to 8-11 and 1-1 in league play, evening the series between the two West Division foes.
Similar to its earlier games this week, Little Rock jumped out to an early lead, scoring nine runs in the first four innings. After a leadoff home run by the Ragin' Cajuns in the top of the first, the Trojans answered back with a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning. It was Pittman's fourth round tripper of the year, scoring Christian Reyes and Garrett Scott.
Louisiana tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third, setting up another three-run inning for Little Rock in the bottom half. Back-to-back walks for Scott and Pittman, followed by an infield single for Josh Nowak loaded the bases with no outs. After back-to-back infield pop outs, Eldrige Figueroa was hit by a pitch, bringing Scott home to make it 4-3 Trojans. Chase Coker then drilled a two RBI shot to left, bringing Pittman and Nowak home as the Trojans doubled up the Ragin' Cajuns 6-3.
Leading 6-4 in the fourth, Little Rock scored three more as Pittman ripped a shot down the right field line, bringing Ryan Benavides home after a leadoff hit by pitch. Nowak then sent a sacrifice fly to left, bringing Scott home, and Alexander brought Pittman home, reaching base on a fielding error by the Ragin' Cajun first baseman.
Little Rock's nine runs through the first four innings came on just four hits as nine different Trojans reached base by way of a walk or hit by pitch to help lead the way for the nine runs.
But the five-run lead wasn't big enough as the Louisiana bats continued to warm up. The Ragin' Cajuns scored at least once in every inning except the second, plating 11 unanswered runs to flip the score from a 9-4 lead for Little Rock to a 15-9 advantage in the eighth.
Louisiana scored four in the sixth, two in the seventh and four in the eighth to reclaim the lead, finishing the day with 20 hits. James Gann knocked his fifth home run in the year in the eighth, a leadoff shot to left to cut the deficit to 15-10, but another Ragin' Cajun run in the ninth led to the 16-10 victory.
The Trojans finished with just seven hits on the day with Pittman, Nowak and Gann each registering a pair. Coker added the seventh as Little Rock finished the day drawing 13 walks and having four players hit by pitch, giving the Trojans 21 extra base runners on the day.
Little Rock used seven different pitchers on the afternoon as starter Jose Torres went 3.1 innings, allowing four runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Donavin Buck, the fourth Trojan pitcher, was credited with the loss after allowing the go-ahead run in the seventh.
Louisiana finished with seven home runs on the day, three of which came off the bat of Hayden Cantrelle who went 4-for-5 with five RBI and five runs scored to lead the Ragin' Cajuns. Two other Cajuns registered four hits on the day as well.
Little Rock now sets its sights on trying to secure its first series win of the season as the Trojans and Ragin' Cajuns will play the rubber match of its three-game series Sunday. Opening pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Gary Hogan Field as the pitching matchup is still to be determined.