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Baseball: Banking on lessons learned – earyl in the year – early in regional

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 7, 2014

He saw it early in the year.

He saw it early in last weekend’s NCAA Lafayette Regional as well.

“We were a little excited,” UL starting pitcher Cody Boutte said, “in the season opener (a loss to Eastern Illinois) and the first Regional game (a loss to Jackson State).”

There was a lesson to be learned in both, and both times the Ragin’ Cajun baseball team bounced back.

After falling 5-1 on Feb. 14 to EIU, they reeled off 10 straight wins and never did lose back-to-back games all season long.

After falling 1-0 last Friday night to JSU, they reeled off four straight.

That was all it took to win the Regional, and now the Sun Belt Conference-champion Cajuns are preparing to open a best-of-three Super Regional against Ole Miss on Saturday night that will produce one of 2014’s eight College World Series participants.

The nation’s No. 1-ranked Cajuns do so with their head coach feeling good about what happened in the Regional, where UL responded to their shocking early loss at home on M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field with a win to eliminate San Diego State, a rematch win to eliminate Jackson State and two wins to eliminate Mississippi State.

“Even though we got a loss (to Jackson State), we played good that night,” Tony Robichaux said. “I mean, we really did. … Nobody really beat us in (that) tournament. The only loss we (had) is the one we inflicted upon ourselves.

“Not be disrespectful to them; those two kids (soft-throwing Jackson State pitchers Vincent Antonia and Alexander Juday) did a great job in a great venue, and were able to locate off-speed.

“But, on the other hand, we did pitch very well that night,” he added. “If (No. 1 starter) Austin (Robichaux) can go out and give up one run again, hey, I’ll take it any day of the week. We played solid defense. We just didn’t get a timely hit the first night.”

That’s just what Tony Robichaux anticipates it will take Saturday night, when son Austin starts against the Rebels.

Boutte, UL’s usual No. 3 starter behind Austin Robichaux and Carson Baranik, thinks UL can make it happen and get to Omaha for the CWS.

He’s banking on lessons learned, especially those against Eastern Illinois and Jackson State.

“Now we realize we just have to play the way we play,” the New Iberia Senior High product said. “With us getting hot late right now, I’m exited.

“I think we’re all ready to start this first one (Saturday night) hot, and get the second one (Sunday night) done,” Boutte added, “and maybe I won’t have to pitch (Monday night).”

Which would be fine with Boutte, because it would mean that next week the Cajuns will be on their way to Nebraska.