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Baseball: Clement delivers for Cajuns – A Record 50 – Robichaux Done – Watch Party – Lagniappe

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 22, 2014

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UL’s Kyle Clement (25) celebrates a run scored with teammate Jace Conrad (19) during the Cajuns’ 7-3 win over UL Monroe on Wednesday in Mobile, Ala. (Photo: Courtesy of Sun Belt Conference )

Having played just 18-of-56 games all season before Wednesday, and having started only three, UL reserve outfielder Kyle Clement might not have had reason to expect to play in this week’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

Until coach Tony Robichaux dropped a clue, that is.

"He kind of hinted to me (Tuesday) just to be ready and (to) get my blood flowing and everything," Clement said, "and then (Wednesday) he told me I was going to be in right (field)."

Clement responded by going 2-of-3 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored as UL won its tourney opener 7-3 over UL Monroe at Stanky Field here Wednesday.

"We can call on certain guys when we need them," Robichaux said, "and he did a great job for us."

Robichaux opted to play Clement over usual starting right fielder because he wanted an extra left-handed bat in the lineup against sinkerball pitcher Tyler Bray of ULM.

"We really wanted to try to get (hot-hitting) Greg (Davis) in there," Robichaux said, "but we just felt the matchup was gonna be better with another lefty in the lineup.

"Sinkerballers are tough, man, for righthanded hitters. They just are. Fifty percent of the ball is already cutting, because you’re throwing from down under. The ball is sinking onto their shoestrings. But lefties, they get a great view of it."

Clement, a junior from Catholic High in New Iberia and a transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, was happy to be called on.

"Coach always tells us to work while we wait and don’t be complacent, because your time’s gonna come," he said. "When you’re not an every-day player, you definitely want to help to try your team out and make the most of the situation."

Teammates had no doubt he would.

"That’s who we are," second baseman Jace Conrad said. "We’ve got guys on the bench that can start and play a lot at almost any program in the country.

"I had total confidence, as well everyone else," Conrad added. "Everyone knew he was gonna get the job done. He’s a really good baseball player, and that’s what he does."


UL’s win Wednesday was its 50th of the season, a school record.

But with the Cajuns trying to win the Sun Belt tourney for the first time since 1998 and trying to get to the College World Series for the first time since 2000, it may have gotten a bit lost in the bigger picture.

"That was a big win for us. It’s good to set that for the program," pitcher Austin Robichaux said. "But … we’ve still got more games to go."

"It’s a huge step. Winning 50 games is hard for any program," Conrad added. "It’s something we’re gonna enjoy for the rest of the day – but (after that) it’s over with."


After throwing 100 pitches Wednesday, UL starter Robichaux is in all likelihood done for the tournament.

"I don’t think you’ll see us bring Austin back because of the past situation," coach and father Tony Robichaux said.

Austin Robichaux is healthy now, but the junior missed time earlier this season due to arm tendinitis.

Relievers Ryan Wilson and Matt Plitt both threw for UL on Wednesday, but after short stints Robichaux said both are "still good" to throw later in the tourney.


UL will host an open-to-fans watch party at 11 a.m. Monday, when NCAA Regional bids go out.

Gates at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field will open at 10:30 a.m. Players will be available for autographs afterward as part of the festivities, and popcorn will be served.

Regional host sites will be announced at 8 p.m. (central) Sunday night, scrolled on the bottom line on various ESPN TV networks.

UL expects to host a Regional.


UL third baseman Ryan Leonards extended his hit streak to 12 games, and first baseman Chase Compton has reached base in 20 consecutive games. … The Cajuns are now 19-1 against in-state opponents, with only a loss to the University of New Orleans. … UL is now two wins shy of tying South Florida’s 1986 record for most wins in a season by a Sun Belt team (52). … The winner of today’s game gets Friday off.