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Baseball: Parker’s Return Pays Dividends

Dan McDonald

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. After missing most of the University of Louisiana¹s
final five Sun Belt Conference games, Jameson Parker was itching for the
chance to play in the league tournament.
The Ragin¹ Cajun senior shortstop got his chance, back in his normal number
two hole in the lineup, and responded with a huge offensive day in UL¹s
narrow 8-7 win over Arkansas State Wednesday.
Parker had three hits and scored three runs, with his second-inning home run
to right field giving UL a 6-3 lead at the time.
³It feels really good, no doubt,² Parker said. ³I just wanted to get back on
the field, and I was glad I could step back in and help us.²
The homer was only Parker¹s second of the season, but it marked the second
time in as many years for the Crestview, Fla., native to step up large in
the tournament. His only homer of the 2005 season came in extra innings and
gave the Cajuns a 6-4 11-inning victory over Western Kentucky in an
elimination game.
³I guess I¹ve been lucky in the tournament,² he said. ³What you try to do at
this time of the year is have good at-bats and elevate them when you have
the chance.²
Parker suffered a sprained ankle in the second inning of UL¹s Saturday game
at Middle Tennessee on May 13. He didn¹t play the rest of that 7-5 win or
the Sunday 5-4 loss to the Raiders, and then missed all four games in the
season-ending homestand.
He was bitterly disappointed that he didn¹t get to make a final home
appearance at Moore Field, and apparently took out that anger in his first
three at-bats Wednesday.
He also showed little sign of favoring his ankle when he scored from first
base on Jonathan Lucroy¹s fourth-inning double, with that run the last one
the Cajuns scored and eventually providing the winning margin.
Parker also handled three defensive chances at shortstop without error, and
now has handled 160 chances since his last error on March 11 against Texas
A&M. That¹s part of the reason that UL finished the season with the Sun
Belt¹s best fielding mark in league games (.978, with only 20 errors in 24
games) and the second-best mark in the league overall (.970, only a couple
of thousandths of a point behind South Alabama).
³Having him in the middle with Devon (second baseman Devon Bourque) makes us
very solid there,² said Cajun coach Tony Robichaux.

Originally published May 25, 2006