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Baseball: Cajuns officially lose Kjerstad to Royals

UL outfielder Dex Kjerstad (21) has signed a deal with the Kansas City Royals, therefore ending his college career with the Ragin' Cajuns. 
UL outfielder Dex Kjerstad (21) has signed a deal with the Kansas City Royals, therefore ending his college career with the Ragin’ Cajuns. / Paul Kieu, The Advertiser
Staff Reports, The Advertiser, July 13, 2013
Confirming earlier reports, the UL baseball program made it official by announcing that junior outfielder Dex Kjerstad will forgo his senior season to play in the Kansas City Royals organization.

Kjerstad signed a deal with the Royals as an undrafted free agent on Thursday, first reported by the Amarillo Globe-News. The Texas native underwent Tommy John surgery last month and will begin his rehab program at the Royals spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz., on Monday with team trainers.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound outfielder hit a Sun Belt Conference best .388 this past season and led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 32 multi-hit games.

“UL was a positive experience for me and it is one that has had a huge impact on my life not only as a player, but more importantly as a person,” Kjerstad said in a statement released by UL. “And that is a reflection of the coaches, my teammates, the University and the Ragin’ Cajuns fans.

“Playing professional baseball has always been my dream and it’s what I am ready to do. It was the toughest phone call I’ve ever had to make to tell the coaches my decision.”

Kjerstad was a big part of the Cajuns’ run to the NCAA tournament, ranking in the national top 20 in average, hits (99), and runs scored (63) in his lone season at UL.

“We are glad to see such a hard worker and good person get an opportunity to start his professional baseball career,” head coach Tony Robichaux said in a statement. “Dex’s ability will be missed, but more importantly his clubhouse and off the field character. We wish him the best of luck and this will open the door for another player to step up.”

Kjerstad will join several notable Cajuns in professional baseball, which includes current Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy and Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Danny Farquhar at the major league level. The list of notable Cajuns in the minor league ranks includes: Chad Beck, T.J. Geith, Jordan Harrison, Chase Lambin and Dayton Marze