LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Dylan Butler and Tyler Girouard each hit home runs as Louisiana-Lafayette rolled past Mississippi 9-5 in the opening game of their best-of-three super regional Saturday night.
Louisiana-Lafayette (58-8) scored five runs in the third inning, capped by Girouard's three-run homer off Ole Miss (44-19) starter Chris Ellis (10-2).
"Anyone in that situation could have done it," said a humble Girouard. "It's not just me or this other person. The whole team can do things like that in big situations."
The Ragin' Cajuns scored three more in the fifth, and are a win away from reaching the College World Series for the second time in program history.
Ellis appeared rattled when center fielder Auston Bousfield dropped a routine popup in the second inning that would have gotten the Rebels out of the inning. Instead, the error allowed a run to score.
"I was under it with my glove," Bousfield said. "It just bounced out. I should have ended up with it."
Ellis pitched just 2 2-3 innings in the loss, but said the error didn't affect him.
"Those things happen," Ellis said. "He'll probably never do that again in his career. We had a two-run lead at that point. I just wasn't throwing strikes and I got myself in a lot of trouble."
Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco pointed to a plethora of Rebels mistakes that gave the Ragin' Cajuns too many opportunities.
"I don't want to take anything away from (Louisiana-Lafayette)," Bianco said. "They beat us, but I was disappointed we didn't play better. We dropped a flyball and they score a run. We walk a guy, hit a guy, walk a guy to start the next inning and those three score. We balk a guy in.
"You can't do that against most teams, but certainly not against this offense."
Austin Robichaux (8-3) gave up three runs in the second inning, but settled in by going seven innings and giving up just two more runs. Robichaux said he pitched with a huge amount of confidence after the five-run third that gave Louisiana-Lafayette a 6-3 lead.
"I don't think I had my best stuff today," Robichaux said. "That is the good thing about this team. I can pitch without with my best stuff and they can still win it for me."
Ole Miss threatened in the ninth with two runners on and one out, but ULL reliever Matt Plitt got Will Allen to ground into a game-ending double play.
ULL is now one win away from its first College World Series berth since 2000. The teams play again Sunday night.