home sitesearch sitemap contact fan about
  Submit/Update Profile  

Search the Network:

Baseball: One major goal down for Cajuns, more on deck

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 14, 2014

The No. 3-ranked UL baseball team secured one big prize with a win in the first game of a doubleheader last Saturday at South Alabama, then –in unprecedented fashion – went on to sweep its three-game series with the Jaguars in Mobile.

Having now clinched the Sun Belt Conference’s regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in next week’s SBC Tournament in Mobile, UL coach Tony Robichaux suggested that’s one goal down – but with a few more still to go.

Those others include winning at least 50 games, winning every series this season and hosting an NCAA Regional.

The 46-7 Ragin’ Cajuns, ranked No. 3 nationally, can get to 49 even before postseason play begins with a series sweep of UL Monroe this week.

The Warhawks visit for three final regular-season games in a series that gets under way Thursday night at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field.

With wins in each of their 13 weekend series so far this season, including seven sweeps, the Cajuns seem well on their way toward the likely hosting of a Regional as well.

That leaves one more goal Robichaux did not happen to mention when he met with media members earlier this week, but that he and many Cajuns have throughout this season.

It’s making their first trip since 2000 to the College World Series in Omaha.

And it’s with that in mind that Robichaux suggested he’s simply not concerned about whom his Cajuns will face in the upcoming Sun Belt Tournament.

"I really worry about us," he said.

"As far as the matchups, if you get in a huddle and you utter the words Omaha (like the Cajuns frequently do), I don’t think you need to worry about who you’re matching up against. I mean, if you’re gonna conceivably have a goal to get to Omaha, then I think you’ve got to beat anybody you’re gonna play."

As things stand now, possibilities for UL’s tourney-opener in Mobile are plentiful.

All 10 current Sun Belt-member schools play baseball, but only eight will qualify for the SBC Tournament.

With just three games remaining for all and just two games separating five teams fighting for a tourney berth, UL Monroe leads that pack of five at 11-16 in conference play.

Following, in order, are South Alabama (10-16), Georgia State (10-17), Troy (9-17) and UALR (9-18).

"Anything can happen going into this last weekend," Robichaux said. "There are a lot of teams fighting to get in."

Behind league-leader UL (23-4) at the top are Arkansas State (17-10), Texas State (16-11), Texas-Arlington (16-11) and Western Kentucky (13-14).

Other Sun Belt series this week have Arkansas State visiting UALR, Georgia State at WKU, Texas State at UT Arlington and South Alabama at Troy.

For ULM, the series holds much meaning.

For starters, there are the conference tourney implications.

There is the fact the Warhawks dropped 3-of-3 to the rival Cajuns during a mid-March series in Monroe, and was outscored 39-4 in the process, including UL wins of 14-1 and 21-2.

And there is the chance to continue the turnaround that’s come since the in-season, late-March firing of longtime coach Jeff Schexnaider.

When Schexnaider was let go, ULM was 8-17. It has gone 14-14 since under interim head coach Bruce Peddie including wins in five of its last seven outings, and is now 22-31 overall.

"They have been playing well," Robichaux said.

"Sometimes adversity, if it’s handled positively – you can grow from it, and you can get better from it. … You can come together for certain reasons, and when teams do come together they can be a lot better than they were when they were fractured.

"So maybe they’ve gotten together – kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, this is all we’ve got, and let’s the best we can until we get to the end of it," he added. "Bruce (Peddie) is doing a good job with them right now, trying to keep that together – because a coaching change early like that is very tough on a team."