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Baseball: Fans catch baseball fever at Cajuns’ fan day

Chad Washington, The Advertiser, February 8, 2015


PHOTO GALLERY: UL Baseball Fan Day


The excitement for another season of UL baseball was evident at the team’s fan day, where Ragin’ Cajun fans came to M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field for autographs of current and former Cajuns players, as well as for a sneak peek at the 2015 team.

The UL baseball fan day started with the autograph session, followed by a silent auction of autographed items from former UL baseball stars, including the all-star catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, Jonathan Lucroy.

Then the current and former players had a home run derby, won by current Cajun outfielder Dylan Butler, beating out former Cajun catcher Michael Strentz. The day ended with an intersquad game with the current players.

UL fans and kids all lined up around the infield as the players signed cards and posters. Then a couple of lucky kids got a chance to field balls for the home run derby.

"I’m so excited," said Ty Pippen, a 10-year-old boy who was in the outfield for the home run derby. "To be with two or three other kids, what are the odds?"

Ty’s father, Willie, held the autographed cards while he went out into the field. "It’s beautiful. The weather’s nice and we got in first and went to the line. We got to meet all the players and shake their hands and it’s been a great experience."

Former Cajun pitcher Carson Baranik, was back at the Tigue to see the fans. He won 11 games for UL last season and was the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year last season.

"It’s awesome. I love living here in the offseason and it’s a great community," said Baranik, who was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball Draft. "It’s awesome seeing everyone come out for this."

Other former players coming back included Strentz, Jace Conrad, Chase Compton and Seth Harrison. All of those players were on last year’s UL team that went 58-10 last season, winning the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament championship, and advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals.

The season did end after losing to Ole Miss and one win short of reaching the College World Series. But there is a lot of optimism among the current Cajuns players that the team can go further.

But for now, the team is happy to give back to the fans that supported them over the years.

"It feels good to have all of this support," infielder Blake Trahan said. "These fans are great fans, very loyal, they know our names before they see our pictures."

It felt like baseball season as the spring-like weather allowed for the Cajuns and their fans to come out and get ready for the upcoming baseball season, which starts on Friday when UL travels to San Antonio to face the UTSA Roadrunners.