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Baseball: Leger ‘pitched a heckuva game’

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 8, 2015


PHOTO GALLERY: NCAA Super Regional: LSU vs. UL


UL true-freshman pitcher Gunner Leger took the loss hard.

Very hard.

But Ragin’ Cajuns junior centerfielder Kyle Clement wasn’t about to let him.

"I want to give all the credit to this guy," Clement said after Leger (6-5) took the loss as No. 1 LSU ended UL’s season with a 6-3 NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional Game 2 win at Alex Box Stadium here. "I know he won’t give it to himself, but he pitched a heckuva game."

Leger, however, seemed to have trouble accepting that, even after matching LSU’s Jared Poche for six straight scoreless innings.

The Tigers didn’t crack Leger until Kade Scivicque’s solo homer to left in the seventh inning.

"The gameplan was to come out and throw strikes, and keep them down for five, six innings," said Leger, a Barbe High product who was UL’s regular Friday-night starter for most of the regular season.

"The home run was … just missed my spot, center-cut fastball, and against a team this good, a lineup this good, you can’t do that.

"Then they strung a few hits together, I balked (a) guy over," Leger added, head down as he sat next to Clement and teammate Tyler Girouard at a postgame news conference. "I’ve just got to be better, you know? I’ve got to do my job."

All things considered, Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux thought Leger did.

Leaving after Alex Bregman’s two-run single up the middle in a four-run eighth, Leger wound up on the hook for four runs (all earned) with five hits allowed, four strikeouts, just one walk issued and one hit batsman.

But the numbers really don’t reflect what went into, and came out of, the outing.

"Gunner threw a great game," said Robichaux, who pitched twice for UL to win the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and once to win the NCAA Houston Regional. "Our two true freshmen (Leger and Wyatt Marks, who started Saturday) came in here and threw lights-out for us.

"That’s all you can asked as a head coach, is to be able to come out here and put true freshmen in the conditions we were in and keep us where we were."

With runners on second and third and Bregman, who had been struggling at the plate all postseason, at bat, Robichaux opted against intentionally walking LSU’s All-American shortstop who is expected to go quite high in Monday night’s MLB Draft.

Robichaux said the possibility was "kick around."

What he did not debate, however, was pulling Leger before he pitched to Bregman.

"I stuck with him all the way through, and if I had the choice to do it again, I’d do it again, because he’s not just a freshman, he’s a man," Robichaux said. "He mans up and he gets after what he has to get after, and I gave him that opportunity tonight, and, you know, credit Bregman, he got the ball back through the middle on us, and we let one inning get away from us in two days.

"Credit (Bregman)," the Cajun coach added, "but I stick with my freshman because I believe in him."