METAIRIE, La. – In need of a big moment late in Tuesday’s contest against No. 14 Louisiana State, it was seniors Orynn Veillon and Handsome Monica who answered the call for Louisiana with back-to-back home runs in the eighth inning to clinch a thrilling 6-5 victory at the 16th-annual Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic.
The contest held true to its billing as all six of the meetings between the two programs in the charity game have been decided by four runs or less. The Ragin’ Cajuns (20-20, 8-7) have now won back-to-back Wally Pontiff Jr. Classics and have taken three-straight over the Tigers.
Veillon had himself a night in Metairie, producing the two-run blast and an RBI single to finish his 2-for-4 effort with three RBI. Monica’s homer was his 10th of the season, the most in the Sun Belt this year. He also added a double in a 2-for-3 outing.
Fellow senior Hunter Kasuls knocked two hits as well and scored a run by stealing home, while Hayden Cantrelle was responsible for the team’s only other hit.
Sophomore Jacob Schultz (1-1) was lights out in the final 4.0 innings of the game, striking out four batters and allowing just two hits to earn the first victory of his collegiate career.
Louisiana opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the second inning with the help of a single and a sacrifice fly to put the Ragin’ Cajuns ahead, 2-0. An inning later, the lead was extended to 3-0 when an effective double steal allowed Kasuls to swipe home.
The lead lasted until the fourth inning, when one swing of the bat from Louisiana State’s first baseman sent a ball over the right-field wall to knot the game up at 3-3. The Tigers took their first lead of the contest an inning later when it scored two more runs on three hits.
Veillon brought the Ragin’ Cajuns level in the seventh inning, hammering a ball over the left-field wall to tie the game at five runs each. Not to be outdone, Monica sent a ball sailing over the same wall to push Louisiana back into the lead at 6-5.
The Monica home run proved to be the game winner as Schultz came back out and fanned two in the ninth to seal a 6-5 victory and third-straight win for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Louisiana returns to action with a slightly altered weekend series when it travels to league-leading UTA for three games. Game times are set for 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, 6:30 p.m., on Friday and 2 p.m., on Saturday.
Courtesy Ragin Cajuns Athletics