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Baseball: UL baseball ranked No. 14 by Baseball America – Standing is Highest Ever For Program

Tim Buckley, Daily Advertiser, Jan. 28, 2014

The 2014 University of Louisiana at Lafayette baseball team is getting big-time national notice before it has even taken the field.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are ranked No. 14 in Baseball America’s preseason Top 25 poll, released Monday.

The ranking is the highest ever for UL’s baseball program in the preseason poll, and it marks the Cajuns’ first appearance in Baseball America’s preseason Top 25 since 2008, when it started the season at No. 18.

LSU is ranked No. 9 and Virginia, which returns eight starters and has reached the 50-win plateau in three of the last four years, is No. 1 in this year’s poll. Oregon State is No. 2 and Indiana is No. 3.

The Southeastern Conference leads all conferences with eight teams cracking the poll, including four among the top 10, topped by South Carolina at No. 7.

The Baseball America Top 25, compiled by staff of the publication, is one of college baseball’s most highly regarded nationally polls.

Earlier this month, Collegiate Baseball — another well-regarded national poll — had the Cajuns at No. 23 in its preseason rankings.

UL coach Tony Robichaux is happy to see his team nationally ranked, but he doesn’t want it to rest on preseason laurels.

“It’s good to be rewarded for the coaches’ and players’ hard work,” Robichaux said in a statement. “To get to the point of being recognized is an honor.

“We have to make sure that we don’t get caught up in everything, and that we continue to work to be the best we can be,” he added. “The most important ranking to us is the one at the end of the year.”

Except for starting right fielder and leadoff-hitter Dex Kjerstad, the Cajuns return all of their major pieces in the field from a 43-20 team that was eliminated by LSU from NCAA Regional postseason play a season ago.

That includes senior outfielder Caleb Adams, who late last month was named to the Louisville Slugger’s Preseason All-America Third Team. Adams ranked ninth in the nation in home runs with 16 last year, when he also hit .339 with 55 RBIs.

The Cajuns return all three of their weekend starters from last year in Austin Robichaux (9-2 with a 3.05 ERA), Ryan Wilson and Cody Boutte.

They also added to their pitching depth with additions including ex-LSU righty Carson Baranik and the return of Chris Griffitt, a senior lefty who missed all of last year due to injury.

The Cajuns open their regular season with a four-game series against Eastern Illinois that opens Feb. 14 at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.

“We have to go out and play,” coach Robichaux said. “You don’t get crowned a champion off of rankings. We are getting prepared for that, and hopefully the rest will fall into place.”

Athletic Network Footnote:

Team                                                          2013 Record        Final 2013 Ranking


1.   Virginia                                                      50-12                            11


2.   Oregon State                                             52-13                             4


3.   Indiana                                                      49-16                             7


4.   Cal State Fullerton                                     51-10                            10


5.   North Carolina State                                  50-16                             6


6.   Florida State                                              47-17                            12


7.   South Carolina                                           43-20                            14


8.   Mississippi State                                         51-20                             2


9.   Louisiana State                                          57-11                             5


10.   Vanderbilt                                                54-12                             9


11.   Oregon                                                     48-16                            17


12.   UCLA                                                       49-17                             1


13.   Clemson                                                   40-22                           NR


14.   Louisiana                                                 43-20                           NR


15.   Rice                                                         44-20                            16


16.   Miami                                                      37-25                           NR


17.   North Carolina                                          59-12                             3


18.   Texas                                                       27-24                           NR


19.   Texas Christian                                        29-28                           NR


20.   Louisville                                                 51-14                             8


21.   Alabama                                                  35-28                           NR


22.   Kansas State                                            45-19                            13


23.   Florida                                                     29-30                           NR


24.   Texas A&M                                              34-19                           NR


25.   Arkansas                                                   39-22                            18