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Diagle, Leslie hit three-run home runs in eighth inning to put LSUA in RRAC Tournament title game

Cameron Daigle (4))
Cameron Daigle (4))(Aimee Benoit)
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 1:06 PM CDT
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STERLINGTON, La. (LSUA) - The comeback kids are at it again.

Cameron Daigle and Brant Leslie each crushed three-run home runs in a six-run eighth inning to turn a two-run deficit to a four-run lead, which it held, as the LSUA (32-14) baseball team posted a 9-5 come-from-behind victory against rival Louisiana Christian (32-16) in the Red River Athletic Conference on Sunday evening at the Sterlington Sports Complex.

LSUA trailed 5-3 in the eighth and only had a runner on first with two outs against Colten Newsom, who had worked out of a jam in the seventh and retired three of the four batters he faced overall.

Bryson Broussard reached on an error by second baseman Adrian Aguilar, who misplayed a groundball, putting runners on first and second with two down.

The next batter was Daigle, who nearly hit a home run in his previous at-bat, but had to settle for a double. The junior did get all of this one, blasting his second home run of the season over the left center field wall to put the Generals up for good.

Leslie followed three batters later by annihilating a ball over the right field fence for his second homer of the tournament and fifth overall on the season. It provided much-needed cushion for the Generals to close out the win.

His 10th career home run moved him into a tie for fifth-most in program history with Blake Garrett, who played in 2017 and 2018.

Ian Mullen, who came in to put out a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth, finished off the job by facing three batters in the ninth, inducing a line drive double play to finish the game.

The Generals advance to the RRAC Tournament title game on Monday at 6 p.m. with a chance to bring home a tournament crown for the first time since 2018. It will play against the winner of LCU and Houston-Victoria, which plays at 2 p.m. The winner of that game will have to beat LSUA twice in order to win the tournament title and earn the conference’s automatic berth to the NAIA Tournament.

“Man, it was another great game,” LSUA Interim Head Baseball Coach Kody Gautreaux said. “All around, it was a fun and exciting game on both sides. This team has no quit and they are heating up at the right time.

“Cameron Daigle showed once again his versatility, giving us a great start on the mound and coming up with the huge home run to put us ahead. All around, it was a great game and great night and we are excited to compete for the championship tomorrow night.”

LSUA now has six wins when trailing with six outs to go. If you were to add games that were tied that it won in the last at-bat, you can add three more to that total, including Saturday’s win over Texas A&M-Texarkana.

While the final score total was 14 runs, it started like a pitcher’s duel, as only one run was scored in the game’s first five innings.

That run led off the game for the Generals, as Broussard walloped a pitch from Wildcats starter Cortlynn Ramirez over the right field wall and finished it with a great bat flip.

Daigle, who started the game on the mound for the Generals, cruised through five innings, but ran into a but of trouble in the sixth.

With the tying runner at second with one out, Alex Ashby crushed a home run to dead center just over the outstretched arm of Broussard. Ashby led the Wildcats with two hits on the evening.

Haydon Helms dumped in an RBI single to right field to bring home another late in the inning to push LCU’s lead to 3-1.

Ivan Prejean made a terrific stop to keep the score at 3-1, robbing Nick Brunet of extra bases to end the inning with a diving stop and at third, which would have scored two.

LSUA scored single runs in the sixth and seventh to tie the score but left five runners on in those two innings or the Generals could have been in front.

After Brandon Noel shut down the Wildcats in the seventh, LCU took advantage of three walks and a hit by pitch to score two runs without the benefit of a hit.

Mullen came in with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and surrendered an RBI groundout but struck out Jacob Fowler to keep the deficit at two, setting the stage for the deciding bottom of the eighth.

Peyton Marcantel finished with a game-high three hits, going 3-for-4, driving in a run, while Jordan Ardoin and Saturday’s hero Luke Benoit each added two hits and scored a combined three runs.

In its previous two tournament games against Southwest and UHV, LCU scored 35 runs on 34 hits, but the LSUA pitching staff held the powerful Wildcats offense to just five runs on five hits.

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