Blake Trahan hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, leading Louisiana Lafayette to a 6-5 victory over UT Arlington in the championship game of the Sun Belt Conference baseball tournament on Sunday.
The Mavericks (33-26) took a 3-0 lead with a run in the first inning and two in the second.
But the Ragin’ Cajuns (53-7) tied it with three runs in the second inning, then took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the third.
UTA came back with two runs in the seventh to tie the score 5-5. ULL, ranked second in the USA Today Coaches Poll, then broke the tie to earn the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
“I’m very proud of our team,” UTA coach Darin Thomas said. “We played our tails off all weekend. We came up a little short today. It’s disappointing but not a disappointing effort.
“We’ve had our back against the wall for about the last month. We were just trying to readjust our goals, get into the tournament and then get the highest seed we could. We wanted to get into the finals and play as best and as well could. I’m very proud of the guys.”
The Mavericks scored a run in the first inning on singles by Darien McLemore and Ryan Bottger and a sacrifice fly by Matt Shortall.
They scored two runs in the second on back-to-back home runs by Levi Scott and Eric Tate.
UTA ran into control trouble in the third inning with three walks and a hit batter. Lafayette’s Ryan Leonards tied the score 3-3 with a two-run single.
Lafayette scored twice in the third inning, highlighted by a run-scoring triple by Caleb Adams.
The Mavericks tied the game 5-5 with two runs. McLemore singled and Bottger hit a two-run home run.
“We knew it was going to be a battle from the very beginning,” Shortall said. “They are one the top offenses in the country. We knew we were going to have to come in and bang with them. Our pitching staff really held them down for a while.”
The Mavs had won 10 straight.