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Baseball: Shocked Cajuns turn to Baranik – Experience Pays – Praise for Deggs – Trahan Makes List

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 31, 2014

When Carson Baranik decided to transfer to UL from Miami Dade College in Florida, he had no idea the Ragin’ Cajuns would be as good as they have been last season.

The Cajuns went to the 2013 NCAA Baton Rouge Regional as one of the country’s top-hitting teams in the country, and they went into the ongoing Lafayette Regional No. 2 in both batting average and home runs.

“When I committed here, last season hadn’t even occurred. So it was kind of a pleasant surprise,” said Baranil, who started his career at LSU, then transferred to Miami Dade after one season.

“I had never really played for a team with a lot of run support,” he added, “so when I committed and then I saw the runs they were putting up, that kind of made the decision look like I was a genius at the time.”

UL will need its bats to come alive Saturday, when the 53-8 Cajuns play San Diego State in a 1 p.m. elimination game at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

UL, ranked No. 1 in the nation, was upset 1-0 Friday night by Jackson State which allowed it just seven hits.

Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux has named Baranik (10-1) to start, meaning No. 3 starter Cody Boutte will have to watch UL win today if he is to get a chance to start in the Regional as well.

Boutte (8-0) gave up three runs on five hits and lasted just 1.2 innings in his NCAA Regional debut last season, an eventual 7-5 win over Sam Houston State in Baton Rouge.

The now-senior came back to start again the next day and allowed just one run and four hits over 4.2 innings, in a 5-1 Baton Rouge Regional-ending loss to host LSU.

Lesson learned?

You bet.

“The one experience I’m gonna take out of that one,” Boutte said, “is ‘Do better the first game, so I don’t have to come back another game.’ ”


Jackson State pitcher Vincent Anthonia, who went 6.0 inings and got the shutout win against UL on Friday night, wasn’t fazed whatsoever by pitching against the nation’s No. 1 team.

He also had a successful outing against nationally ranked Alabama earlier this season as well, and came into the Regional with a 3-0 record and a 3.41 ERA.

“He’s not telling you guys,” Tigers coach Omar Johnson, “but he pitched in the Little League World Series too. So, he’s been on TV. And pressure? That’s not a big deal.”


After beating San Diego State 5-2 at The Tigue on Friday, Mississippi State coach John Cohen expressed high regard Friday for the nation’s No. 1 Cajuns and a couple of their coaches in particular.

“Not only Tony (Robichaux), but also hitting coach Matt Deggs,” Cohen said. “You could tell his (Deggs’) signature all over this too.”

Deggs previously worked as an assistant at Texas A&M and Arkansas.

UL went into the Regional hitting .317 with 63 homers.


UL shortstop Blake Trahan has made the cut to 10 semifinalists for the Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, which will be presented June 28 in Lubbock, Texas.

Also on the list: LSU shortstop Alex Bregman.

Trahan, the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player, will play this summer for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team.

The Kinder High product went 3-for-4 against Jackson State on Friday night, and was the only Cajun with multiple hits.

The other semifinalists: Maryland’s Chet Schmit, North Carolina’s Michael Russell, North Carolina State’s Trea Turner, Mercer’s Michael Massi, New Mexico’s Sam Haggerty, Tennessee Tech’s Dylan Bosheers and Alabama’s Mikey White.


Boutte and junior second baseball Jace Conrad both made the cut to 36 semifinalists for the Gregg Olson Award, which honors college baseball’s breakout player of the year.

Conrad, from Lafayette High, was named a Louisville Slugger All-American earlier this week. Boutte is a New Iberia Senior High product.


UL first baseman Chase Compton was hit by a pitch for a school-record 22nd time Friday night. … Among the items not allowed at The Tigue this weekend: Umbrellas, flasks and cowbells. … Mississippi State and San Diego State meet in the winner’s-bracket late game at 6 tonight.