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Baseball: Ex-UL stars thump current Cajuns, 10-0

Baseball: Ex-UL stars thump current Cajuns, 10-0

Baseball: Ex-UL stars thump current Cajuns, 10-0

Dan McDonald

In baseball, there’s no substitute for experience. A delegation of current professional players proved that to the youthful University of Louisiana squad Saturday.
The group of pros, most of them Cajun alumni, took advantage of UL’s inexperience on the mound and took a 10-0 victory in their annual Fan Day exhibition game at M. L. “Tigue" Moore Field.

A seven-run fourth inning paved the way for the pros in the five-inning contest, while current Cajun Brandt Sanders and pros Kraig Schambough and Rusty Begnaud combined to limit UL to three hits.

“We’ve been intrasquading hard and we’ll do it again tomorrow (Sunday)," said Cajun coach Tony Robichaux. “We had to be restrictive on who was throwing. We don’t hold arms for this so we see who’s available, and we had to move Sanders over there because of our numbers."

The Cajuns, who open their regular season at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against UL Monroe at Moore Field, threatened only once in the third inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Grant Derouen singled, Tim Santiago reached on a two-base error and Matt Hicks was hit by a Schambough pitch, but Schambough forced Devon Bourque to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Jonathan Lucroy and Geoff Craig had the other UL hits.

Ex-Cajun catcher Justin Morgan’s second-inning sacrifice fly plated Phillip Hawke for a 1-0 lead off Jason Fernandez, and a two-base error on Chase Lambin’s ground ball scored John Coker and Corey Coles in the third.

Hawke keyed the fourth inning with a bases-clearing double off redshirt Kyle Mickles.

“It’s good experience for our guys," Robichaux said. “The young guys can look over there and see players from here that have moved on to the pros. When most guys start playing in college they play fast and panicky, and it’s good to see the guys who have played pro ball and how they slow down the game and let the game come to you."

n HOME RUN DERBY: Dallas Morris, who wrapped up his four-year UL career last spring and is now in the Anaheim Angels organization, won Saturday’s home run derby held prior to the exhibition game.

Morris advanced to the finals with three homers in the first round, and then launched eight over the left-field wall in the final round. None of the other finalists — ex-Cajun standout Coles and current UL players Jonathan Lucroy and Devery Van De Keere — could manage more than one homer in the finals.

“It’s all a matter of getting good pitching," Morris said. “Bab (UL assistant coach Anthony Babineaux) was in a groove and it was running in nice on the right-handers. With the aluminum bat, you just get good contact and let the wind take care of the rest."

Coles and Lucroy each had five homers in the opening round and Van De Keere had four to advance to the finals with Morris.

n REUNION: The pro group had just enough players to fill a lineup in their natural positions. Morgan (Cubs) caught, Hawke (Rangers) was at first, Rick Haydel (Diamondbacks) at second, Lambin (Mets) at shortstop, Morris (Angels) at third, and Coles (Mets), Coker (independent Evansville Otters) and Charlie Babineaux (Giants) in the outfield.

Ex-Cajun Kevin Ardoin (Tigers) was in uniform but did not pitch, and fellow alumni Justin Merendino, Austin Faught and Micah Cockrell coached the pro team.

Many of the pro players will depart for spring training this week.
n TUESDAY STARTER: Robichaux said Saturday that sophomore lefthander Hunter Moody (2-0, 4.08 in 2005) will get Tuesday night’s Opening Day start against UL Monroe. Moody had UL’s victory in last June’s NCAA Regional in New Orleans, beating Southern 9-1.

Originally published February 12, 2006