Marks, UL bullpen do the job in win over Louisiana Tech

Tim Buckley

Coming off of a rare rough appearance Sunday against Georgia Southern, the stakes were a little higher for Wyatt Marks when he entered UL’s game in relief of starter Evan Guillory on Tuesday night against Louisiana Tech.

UL's Wyatt Marks works in a 3-1 win over Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night.

The situation was rather ramped as well.

Bases loaded, no outs, UL clinging at the time to a one-run lead in the top of the sixth inning.

To come out like he did — two strikeouts and a groundball to short, no damage whatsoever in an eventual 3-1 Ragin’ Cajuns win over the Bulldogs of Conference USA — was “huge,” according to Marks.

“I wanted it for my team,” the junior from St. Thomas said. “I wanted it for Evan (Guillory), you know?”

UL coach Tony Robichaux loves having Marks in that situation because batters this season typically have found it quite difficult to hit off of him.

“The biggest gift for you is that they don’t put the ball in play. That’s exceptional,” Robichaux said. “They can’t sac fly you to death; they can’t bleed you to death; they can’t bloop a ball in. They don’t make contact.”

Marks did uncharacteristically struggle in a 9-1 loss to Georgia Southern on Sunday, allowing four hits including three homers while working just 0.2 innings.

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But he went into Tuesday’s game leading the nation in hits allowed per nine innings with just an average of just 4.21, and second in the country in strikeouts per nine innings with an average of 14.90.

And after emerging like he did from the win over Louisiana Tech, with four strikeouts over 2.0 no-hit shutout innings, Robichaux feels like he has two closers now — three, really, when adding Jevin Huval to a list that arguably includes both Marks and Dylan Moore.

Huval came in off of an injury to work one no-hits shutout inning, and Moore shut out Louisiana Tech in the ninth for his team-high ninth save of the season.

“I put him in a little critical situation there,” Robichaux said of Huval, who hadn't pitched since April 25 against Texas due to shoulder soreness, “but he said he felt good.

“First guy he showed a little bit of rust, and then after that I think he got the feel back of what he needed to be doing and he got some big outs.”

Moore, meanwhile, also came off of a bit of a shaky showing Sunday and took care of business after giving up a lead-off single in the ninth.

UL, Robichaux suggested, could conceivably use Huval, Marks and Moore in any order and combination late in games.

“’Mo (Moore) came to me the other day,” the Cajun coach said, “and said, ‘Hey, look, I know sometimes you hold me out to close, but if you want to use me like Wyatt (Marks) with the game on the line from time to time I’ll come out of the pen early. I’ll do whatever I’ve got to do to help this team win.’

“So don’t be surprised if we … do that some night.”

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Louisiana Tech lost a runner in the first as Chase Lunceford was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double, and the Bulldogs stranded a man in the second.

UL, meanwhile, went down in order in both the first and second.

Louisiana Tech did the same in the top of the third, and the Cajuns left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning as Joe Robbins hit into a fielder’s choice, sending the two sides into the fourth inning tied at 0-0.

In the top of the fourth, Guillory (4-2) retired the side in order for a second straight inning.

The Cajuns struck first, loading the bases for a second straight inning and getting their first run when Steven Sensley scored on Alex Pinero's sacrifice fly to centerfield. Handsome Monica followed with a single that scored Todd Lott, and UL led 2-0 after four.

Louisiana Tech got one back in the top of the fifth, when Jonathan Washman doubled to center and later scored on Cody Daigle's single, making it 2-1 Cajuns going to the sixth.

Kennon Fontenot opened the bottom of the sixth with a triple, and scored on Brad Antchhak's suicide squeeze bunt to put UL ahead 3-1.

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win," Robichaux said of the risky sac bunt. "I needed that extra run. … Brad did a great job."

Marks retired the side in order including two strikeouts, in the top of the seventh, Huval got UL out of the eighth with a strikeout and a couple of fielder's choices and Moore followed a strikeout with a double-play ball to end it.

"Those three guys did their job," Robichaux said.

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UL starter Evan Guillory got the win against Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night.


Fontenot was 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Cajuns.


UL, which had lost five of its last six, picks up a much-needed win over a quality opponent while improving to 29-19-1.  Louisiana Tech, which beat the Cajuns 6-3 in 13 innings at Ruston earlier this season, fell to 32-16.


UL plays host to McNeese State in a makeup game Wednesday night at The Tigue. Spectators are being instructed by UL to use their original April 26 ticket. Sophomore righty Nick Lee will start for UL, and Robichaux suggested Marks could be available for a short bit of work.

“Maybe," Robichaux said, "he could come with two outs and runners everywhere and see if we can strike one batter out."