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Baseball: Seven total Cajuns drafted – Conrad, Robichaux, Leonards go in 13th-21st rounds

The Advertiser, June 6, 2014

The UL Ragin’ Cajuns’ 2000 College World Series team had six players drafted.

After a busy day on Saturday, the 2014 Cajuns squad ended up with seven players taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft.

Acadiana area products Jace Conrad, Austin Robichaux and Ryan Leonards headed a group of five Cajuns picked by various big league clubs Saturday.

Conrad was the first to go on Saturday in the 13th round by the Tampa Bay Rays, followed by Robichaux in the 18th round by the Los Angeles Angels and then Leonards was scooped up by the Chicago White Sox in the 21st round.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to get drafted,” UL coach Tony Robichaux said. “You can’t walk on to a big league training camp. You’ve got to get drafted. So I’m very happy for those guys.”

Just like they were for the Cajuns in their careers, Conrad and Leonards bring a lot of versatility to their respective organizations.

“I think Jace could play third, second or even first base if a club wanted him to,” coach Robichaux said. “Ryan can play third or first or in the outfield as well. Both of those guys give you flexibility.”

Conrad is a Lafayette High product who played on Lafayette’s 2005 Williamsport Little League World Series team.

The junior is this year’s Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, and he was recently named a first team Louisville Slugger All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Conrad took a .377 batting average and a team-high 65 RBIs into this weekend’s Super Regional against Ole Miss.

Leonards, also a Notre Dame High product, is hitting .323 with 61 runs scored going into the Super Regional.

Coach Robichaux feels his junior son Austin could be a starter or reliever at the professional level.

“I think he could do both,” coach Robichaux said. “He’s OK with the idea of closing, because his older brother (Justin) did it.”

The final two Cajuns drafted Saturday were right-handed pitchers in Carson Baranik in the 33rd round by the Los Angeles Dodgers and reliever Matt Plitt in the 37th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.

The righty has a 7-3 record and a 2.83 ERA this season, and he was the Sun Belt Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

Baranik, who was UL’s No. 2 weekend starter for most of the season and was the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, was 11-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 99 innings of work.

Two Cajun teammates were taken on the draft’s second day Friday: centerfielder Seth Harrison in the seventh round by the San Francisco Giants and left fielder Caleb Adams in the 10th round by the Angels.

STM’s Veillon drafted by Twins in 32nd

St. Thomas More standout and UL signee Orynn Veillon made it two Lafayette Parish high school standouts getting drafted this weekend when he was picked in the 32nd round by the Minnesota Twins.

Cougar teammate Chase Vallot was the No. 40 overall pick by Kansas City on Thursday.

Veillon, who was drafted as a pitcher, was a two-way star for the state champion Cougars this season. As a pitcher, he was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in just 11 innings of work. As a hitter, he batted .298 with 12 RBIs, but wrapped up the state title game with a walk-off grand slam home run.