Baseball: Robicahux utilizing bullpen during postseason run
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 5, 2015
BATON ROUGE – One year after losing 2-of-3 to Ole Miss in the NCAA Lafayette Super Regional, UL coach Tony Robichaux laments having not brought then-senior closer Matt Plitt in earlier during one particular loss to the Rebels.
So in the late stages of a 2-1 win over Houston in the NCAA Houston Regional last weekend, with the Cajuns down 1-0 before a ninth-inning rally in an eventual 2-1 win, he did not hesitate to bring in senior Greg Milhorn to relieve freshman Gunner Leger when he did.
Robichaux was drawing on a lesson learned, and he’s ready to do the same if needed when the Ragin’ Cajuns visit LSU in the Baton Rouge Regional that begins Saturday night here.
“I told the coaches, ‘I still kick myself for not bringing in Matt Plitt in the eighth inning against Ole Miss,’ ” Robichaux said. “You put people in the game that have got destiny, and Milhorn has come through some much tough times.”
With Houston’s Seth Romero one walk shy of a perfect game against UL at the time Leger was lifted after 6.0 innings, at least one fan in the stands evidently thought Milhorn should be saved for later in the Regional.
But Robichaux stuck with his gut.
“Then I hear the guy up there: ‘You’re burning arms Robichaux; you’re not gonna beat this guy (Romero),’ ” Robichaux said. “But, you know, we hang on, hang on. I felt if Milly could hold them right there and we could get to the end, we could do something.”
UL did, producing two ninth-inning runs, and Milhorn allowed just two hits over 3.0 innings as UL advanced to a Regional title game against Rice that it won 5-2.
It was another successful outing for Milhorn, who also finished the final 4.0 shutout innings of UL’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament 12-inning title-game win over South Alabama with only one hit allowed.
Both came after a long trail for Milhorn that includes an oblique year that cost him much of last season and a groin strain that cost him about a month this season, turning him from a weekend starter to a reliever lately.
Robichaux affectionately calls him “Coach Milhorn” for his work in the bullpen with younger pitchers when he was hurt.
“He’ll be a factor (this weekend),” Robichaux said, “and I’m glad for him, because he had it so tough, and worked through all of that after last season, and came back, and got going again, then hit with another injury.
“But his approach with going down to the dugout and helping us was valuable. He didn’t just sit on the bench and pout because he had an injury.”
Cajuns trainer Brian Davis worked closely with Milhorn when he was out.
“He (Davis) did a great job … working him back up to get going again. And Milhorn could have said, ‘You know what man? I’m a senior. This is enough. I tried enough,’ ” Robichaux said. “But he never took that mentality. He kept working while he waited.”
Before getting injured last season, Milhorn – from Texarkana, Arkansas, and a juco-transfer to UL after starting his career at Arkansas – was the Cajuns’ starting pitcher in a rain-shortened 4-1 win over LSU.
Milhorn had gone 5.0 innings with just four hits allowed when the game was called.
“He threw strikes. He competed,” Robichaux said of that outing. “He pitched according to the system, and didn’t second guess it because of the crowd or the guy standing at the plate.”
HE SAID IT
Robichaux, on fickle fans, referencing Houston’s Romero taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning against UL in the Regional: “Some guy yells from the stands, ‘My 7-year-old can hit that guy.’ … Bring him down here. Just let him take a few hacks at this.”
HE SAID IT II
Robichaux, on not allowing LSU to control the moment and spin games out of control this weekend: “You can’t let your pet monkey turn into King Kong. You’ve got to keep him small. That’s what they do to you.”
LSU won a coin toss Friday and will be the home team if there’s an if-necessary game Monday. … According to an LSU official, standing-room only tickets for the Super Regional sold out in five minutes Friday. … KATC TV Ch. 3 in Lafayette will air an extended sportscast, “Battle on the Bayou,” at 6 p.m. Saturday. … UL will host a watch party at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field on Saturday night. Admission is free. Concessions will be sold. No outside food or beverages are allowed.