Courtesy of LSUS Athletics
SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – The first game of the 2021 RRAC Baseball Tournament started out in grand fashion for the Pilots. Payton Robertson opened the game with a lead off home run, which was followed up with two hits and then a massive two run home run that landed beyond the trees for Taylor Fajardo.
Kevin Miranda was impressive for the Pilots, but errors kept the Mustang’s alive. A two out error on a difficult bounce at first kept the second inning alive for the Mustangs and they went on to score to make the game 4-1. After a couple more scoreless innings for the Pilots offense, an error in right field scored another to keep the Mustangs close. Miranda was then pulled after 5 1/3, giving up six hits, two earned runs with eight strikeouts. Josh Fortenberry was brought in to relieve Miranda, but another error allowed another Mustang run to score to bring the Pilot’s lead to 4-3.
Fajardo would come to the plate again with the bases empty seeing nothing but low and outside pitches. On a 2-2 count Fajardo spun one down the right field line that would find it’s way to the corner giving Fajardo an inside the park home run; his second home run of the day extending the Pilot’s lead to 5-3.
In the story of the day two more errors for LSUS allowed runners to threaten in the top of the 8th. With one out, LuisDiego Quintana came in but gave up a hit down the right field line scoring two and tying the game for the Mustangs. The Mustangs would then move the runner around and drop down a bunt scoring another. Two more hits would open the flood gates and the Mustangs would finish the top half of the eighth inning scoring six and taking a 9-5 lead. In the bottom of the ninth the Pilots would score one and threaten, but a double play would end the day and send the Pilots to the losers bracket.
Although a frustrating day, the Pilots did come back from a day one loss two years ago to win the tournament in 2019. The bright spots for LSUS were Taylor Fajardo who went 3-4 with two home runs and three RBI, Payton Robertson who went 3-5 with a home run and two RBI, and Kevin Miranda who went 5 1/3 with eight strikeouts.
Next up: Will play the loser of the OLLU/Houston-Victoria game at Noon, Saturday in an elimination game.