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Baseball: Final home game cements Moody’s legacy as Cajun

Brady Aymond • baymond@theadvertiser.com • May 22, 2008  

By the time Hunter Moody finishes his Ragin’ Cajun baseball career, whatever day that may be for these streaking Cajuns, he’ll do so with a handful of records and a room full of awards.
But chances are, UL coaches and fans won’t remember him for the records or trophies.

What they’ll remember him for is the passion with which he plays the game, or the way he attacks it, so to speak.

"I think the thing that you have to give him so much credit on is that his preparation to pitch is phenomenal," UL coach Tony Robichaux said. "He’s got a rigorous schedule in getting himself ready to pitch.

"The one thing he’s been able to do is to go from some high school guy who’s trying to pitch here to being a professional pitcher getting himself ready to pitch."

And, fittingly enough, his passion could be summed up in one play during Wednesday night’s 6-1 win over Troy in the opening round of the Sun Belt Conference baseball tournament at "The Tigue."

With the Cajuns holding a slim 2-1 lead in the sixth and the Trojans starting to get their timing down on Moody, the senior from Clinton delivered one of the biggest pitches of his career and made quite possibly his best defensive play.

With runners at first and second and one out, Moody got Beau Brooks to hit a hard grounder to Chance Harst at first base. Harst did his job, fielding the ball and turning and firing a perfect strike to shortstop William Long covering the bag at second.

Long then pivoted and fired it back to a then-empty first base, hoping to turn the double play and get out of the inning.

At the last second, Moody leapt into the picture, literally diving to catch the ball. At the same time, Moody stretched out his long legs to touch the bag and finalize the double play.

"That was out of control," Moody said. "I knew we needed a double play to get out of the inning and I wanted to make sure I was there. I fell off (the mound) to the right a little bit, but I tried running as fast as possible and stretch out as far as I could."

The Cajuns rewarded Moody for his gritty play in the next half inning. Nolan Gisclair’s three-run bomb gave the Cajun pitcher some breathing room and Moody made the lead hold up.

"He’s in my top two," Robichaux said when asked where Moody ranks among all the pitchers he’s coached. "He gave me every opportunity to win and he makes me a good coach.

"When you don’t have to make coaching decisions and coaching moves, it makes it easy. He’s got unbelievable ability to manage a baseball game."

When Moody’s storied career is over, he’ll leave as the Cajuns’ all-time leader in wins (31) and starts (52) and rank in the top five in innings pitched (354 2/3) and strikeouts (284).

But until that day comes, and the Cajuns hope it won’t be for another week or two, UL fans need to appreciate and enjoy what he’s brought to this team.

In four years wearing the Vermilion and White, Moody has lost only seven games for a winning percentage of .816. His career ERA after Wednesday’s complete game is a paltry 3.40.

"Without a doubt, we want to keep playing," Moody said. "Those (awards) are good, but I want to keep playing.

"I’ve been going out there the last few weeks thinking this might be it. Tonight, I just went out there trying to throw the best I could. I knew this would be my last time at ‘The Tigue’, so I just wanted to go out there and have fun and give us a chance to win."