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Baseball: Harrison breaks out of slump in time – Leonards Shines – False Motivation

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 1, 2014


UL’s Seth Harrison connects for an RBI triple during the Cajuns’ 9-2 win over San Diego State on Saturday. (Photo: Leslie Westbrook/The Advertiser )

He went into UL’s NCAA Lafayette Regional loser’s-bracket game against San Diego State mired in a 0-for-18 slump.

But starting centerfielder Seth Harrison broke out of it Saturday – big-time.

Harrison was 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored as the 54-8 Ragin’ Cajuns stayed alive with a 9-2 win over the Aztecs.

"It’s always a good feeling to get some hits and score some runs," said Harrison, who had been hitting well above .300 throughout the season, but saw his average drop to .311 going into Saturday’s game.

UL coach Tony Robichaux dropped the speedy Harrison on Saturday to the seven hole from his usual place high in the Cajuns’ batting order.

He also moved up shortstop Blake Trahan, who had three hits in a 1-0 loss to Jackson State on Friday, from the nine hole to the three spot. Trahan responded by going 3-for-5 with an RBI.

"We just wanted to drop Harry a little bit and get him going," Robichaux said. "And we got him back. … That’s huge.

"He’s a huge difference-maker for us," the Cajun coach added. "The guy’s got enough ability to play in the Big Leagues. He can do a lot of damage with his bat and his feet."


UL third baseman Ryan Leonards initiated two double plays and had a couple of web gems Saturday, including a throw to first from behind the bag in the fifth inning and a stop that started a nifty 5-4-3 DP in the eighth.

He wasn’t necessarily trying to look so special, though.

"Our thing," Leonards said, "is just make every routine play, and if you end up diving for a ball and catching it, then that’s better."


Robichaux doesn’t think his Cajuns were any more motivated to win Saturday just because they were upset by SWAC Tournament-champ Jackson State.

He doesn’t expect that to be the case today, either.

"The honor and priviledge to have coached this team this year is that they don’t need anything," he said. "They don’t need to have redemption against Jackson State, or – ‘are we gonna be madder now.’ These guys are madder than hornets every day when we play."

UL goes into today’s play not having lost consecutive game all season long.

"To go as long as we did this year without losing back-to-back games just says so much about these guys and their character," Robichaux said Saturday. "So, we’ve never needed false motivation. When you start getting into, ‘Well, let’s get them because we hate them’ – you’re getting into false motivation.


The Cajuns weren’t sure after winning the game whether they’d played Jackson State and Mississippi State in today’s 1 p.m. game.

They didn’t seem to care, either.

"It doesn’t matter who play," Leonards said.

"We said this all year: Our biggest opponent is us," Robichaux added. "Today we handled us, and tomorrow all we have to do is go out and handle us. It won’t have anything to do with who’s sitting across in that dugout."


UL goes into today’s loser’s-bracket action having used only three arms – starters Austin Robichaux and Carson Baranik, and reliever Matt Plitt – the Regional’s first two games.

"That’s important," Robichaux said, "because we have a longer road now to travel."

The Cajuns must win three straight – two today, one Monday – to advance to a Super Regional that they would host against the winner of the Oxford Regional.