By Lori Lyons, Rougarou Writer
The Baton Rouge Rougarou put together a late-inning rally but couldn’t get past the Acadiana Cane Cutters, losing 4-3 in their 2023 Texas Collegiate League season-opener at Pete Goldsby Field.
The Rougarou managed only two hits against the defending League Champions and in-state rivals – an infield single by Payton Cooper in the third inning and another short single by Austin O’Malley in the ninth. Acadiana pitchers struck out 10 and walked four. Payton Havard got the start for the Cane Cutters and Hayden Toal (from Pineville, La.) picked up the win.
Starter Will Tarpley got the Rougarou loss. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up five hits, walking four and striking out five. Tanner Roberts and Gavin Green pitched in relief.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, Acadiana scored three runs in the seventh. Two of those runs came on back-to-back home runs, by Grant Comeaux and Landon Mason.
Baton Rouge scored all three of its runs in the seventh inning without a single hit. With two out, Jackson Walker reached first on a throwing error by the Acadiana third baseman. T.J. Grines then walked. Both runners scored as Derrald Moore Jr. reached first on an error by the Acadiana shortstop. After a pitching change, Moore advanced to third on a wild pitch. Davis Meche walked then got into a rundown between first and second, which allowed Moore to score before Meche was tagged out.
Baton Rouge threatened again in the ninth. O’Malley started the inning with his single. Eli David bunted, but the catcher threw to second to stop O’Malley. Walker reached first on an error by Acadiana’s shortstop and David reached second. Acadiana intentionally walked Moore to load the bases, but Meche grounded out to second to end the game.
“We had plenty opportunities,” coach Jeff “Rooster” Southall said after the game. “The pitching I saw tonight gives me confidence moving forward. Offensively, we didn’t hit well, but I saw some swings that can barrel some balls up. My first impression is, I like our club and we should be very competitive moving forward. The great news is, we play again tomorrow night and I expect better baseball.”
The Rougarou will take on the Victoria Generals Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Pete Goldsby Field.