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Baseball: Baranik eases UL’s comeback road – Who’s Pitching Sunday?

Bobby Ardoin, The Advertiser, June 1, 2014


UL pitcher Carson Baranik throws a San Diego State runner out during the Cajuns’ 9-2 win to stay alive in the Lafayette Regional. (Photo: Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser )

Carson Baranik made the difficult road through the loser’s bracket appear a little easier Saturday afternoon.

It was Baranik’s assignment to pitch with sufficient longevity and well enough to allow UL survive and play another day in the Lafayette NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament.

Baranik did just that, limiting San Diego State to two runs and six hits in his first start since May 22.

Baranik’s six and a third innings in the 82-degree sunshine also included 72 strikes among his 110 pitches, as the Ragin’ Cajuns defeated San Diego State 9-2 before 3,591 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

The victory also enabled Baranik to improve to 11-1 and collect a third consecutive win since his only loss of the season on April 26 against Texas State.

UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux said Baranik was one of the puzzle pieces who stabilized an effort that allows the Cajuns to play again on Sunday.

“I thought Carson got us off to a good start,” Robichaux said at the postgame press conference. He pitched like he is capable of pitching. (Baranik) stood up and ate up some innings in the heat and gave our hitters a chance to settle in from last night.”

Robichaux said that Baranik was fortunate to receive a sufficient boost from the Cajuns’ defense.

“I might still be pitching if I had (Leonards) playing third base,” Robichaux said.

Baranik said it was imperative that he deliver one of his better performances, especially after the Cajuns lost the regional opener Friday night to Jackson State.

“We understand the road now is not going to be easy. We’re playing to win every game now and it’s all laying it all on the line now. That’s what we have to try to do,” Baranik said.

Baranik said he also received some offensive help, as UL, designated as the visiting team, took a 1-0 lead off two hits and some aggressive baserunning.

“It was great and we also got the fans into it, so we could really settle in out there in that kind of heat,” said Baranik.

San Diego State leadoff hitter Greg Allen, hitless in four at-bats, praised Baranik’s effectiveness.

“(Baranik) did a good job of pounding the zone and keeping us off balance. The top of our lineup couldn’t get anything going off him,” said Allen.

SDSU assistant coach Mark Martinez said Baranik’s effort was supported by the Cajuns’ defense featuring diving stops by Leonards and several backhanded assists by shortstop Blake Trahan, who helped turn a pair of double plays.

“I thought (Baranik) did an outstanding job of throwing strikes. He really got our barrels moving and he had some good counts. He didn’t get outside himself, that’s for sure.

“Once we were able to get the ball in play, he had a good defense behind him. A lot of times it was spot fastballs and we got good contact on them,” said Martinez.


Robichaux was non-committal following the game about who the Cajuns plan to start in Sunday’s 1 p.m. elimination game.

During the regular season, senior Cody Boutte (8-0) has usually followed Baranik in the starting rotation, but after Saturday’s win, Robichaux said he still isn’t sure who will be the UL starter, largely due to the fact that UL would have to win two games Sunday to advance to Monday.

The overall pitching situation for the Cajuns has Boutte and spot starter Greg Milhorn available in addition to nearly all of the bullpen.

So far in the regional play, the Cajuns have used only Matt Plitt in relief. Plitt threw an inning against Jackson State, while on Saturday, he pitched two and two thirds, throwing 35 pitches.

Before he left the podium after giving postgame interviews, Baranik said the Cajuns all season have believed in sticking to the same routine with their pitching staff.

Robichaux did say, however, that the regional is reaching a stage where it’s about how much pitching each team has remaining.

“Whoever we play (on Sunday) I hope they burn up some arms. Don’t want to wish any will towards anyone, but if they burn some arms up, then that’s good for us,” Robichaux said.