Baseball: UL coaches leave door open for departing Girouard -Powell, Bazar, Conrad, Conrad, Veillon
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 15, 2014
He intended all along to make this season his last.
And, at least for now, nothing’s changed.
Designated hitter Tyler Girouard is sticking with the plan and doesn’t intend to return for a fifth season, UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux said less than a week after the 58-10 Ragin’ Cajuns’ season ended with last Monday’s Super Regional loss to Ole Miss.
The redshirt junior from Teurlings Catholic made the decision long ago, denied it publicly during the season, then confirmed to Cajun coaches after the season had concluded that he’s done.
But he’d back welcome back, Robichaux suggested, should he change his mind.
“We left it open to Tyler,” he said, “and gave him the summer.”
Girouard was UL’s 2013 starting third baseman, but was used mostly at DH this year, partly because of a stress fracture and persistent knee pain.
He finished the season hitting .324 with 32 RBIs and three homers, including a key three-run shot in a Super Regional win over the Rebels.
“He made a decision four years ago,” Robichaux said, “that he was gonna go four years, get his degree and start his life.”
But, the Cajun coach added, “if he decides that he wants to continue to play, then we have an open-door policy for him.”
Utilityman Evan Powell played 29 games, starting 14, for the Cajuns in 2014.
The ex-Sam Houston High quarterback from Lake Charles began his college baseball career at LSU in 2012, and – before transferring to UL – helped lead LSU Eunice to the 2013 NJCAA Division II World Series.
Robichaux isn’t quite sure how the Cajuns will use him in 2015.
It could be in right field, held down this year by returning Dylan Butler. It could be at third base, being vacated by senior Chicago White Sox draftee Ryan Leonards. It could also be, on occasion, as a reserve catcher.
“He reminds us of Ryan Leonards … so he’s very valuable to us,” Robichaux said with reference to the ex-Notre Dame High quarterback who played shortstop in 2012, was a utilityman and played some at second base in 2013 and played occasionally in the outfield when not in his usual spot at third this year.
Both Powell and Butler plan to play this summer for the Alaska Baseball League’s Anchorage Bucs.
BAZAR A POSSIBLE STARTER
Robichaux said sophomore-to-be Reagan Bazar will go into next fall as a “potential starter,” as is the case with most Cajun pitchers.
“Every year is a new year,” Robichaux said.
The heat-throwing Bazar was mostly a closer and finished with six saves in 2014 for UL, which used him less and less down the stretch.
Robichaux talked throughout the season about Bazar perhaps becoming a starter in the future, but he struggled in the only game he did start.
Bazar finished 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 31.2 innings over 25 innings. He’ll pitch this summer for Cotuit of the prestigious Cape Cod League.
BRENN CONRAD RETURING
It’s believed Lafayette High product Brenn Conrad will re-join the team as a walk-on this fall.
Conrad played 18 games for UL in 2013, then left for an Iowa junior college in the fall, but returned home and didn’t play anywhere this spring.
He could contend for a starter’s job at third next season, especially if the Cajuns use Powell elsewhere.
JACE CONRAD A FINALIST
UL second baseman Jace Conrad – an older brother of Brenn Conrad – recently was named one of 12 finalists for the Gregg Olson Breakout Player of the Year Award.
The first team All-American signed last week with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.
The Olson Award’s winner will be named Friday.
GOOD ON VEILLON
UL expects to lose five juniors to the draft: Jace Conrad, pitchers Austin Robichaux and Carson Baranik, left fielder Caleb Adams and still-negotiating centerfielder Seth Harrison.
But pitcher/outfielder Orynn Veillon – St. Thomas More product, UL signee and 32nd-round Minnesota Twins draft choice last week – is expected to forego signing.
“I think we’re good there,” Robichaux said.
MARKS, LEGER HONORED
UL signee Wyatt Marks, a St. Thomas More product, was among 37 pitchers recently named a first team Louisville Slugger High School All-American by Collegiate Baseball newspaper, and another UL signee, Barbe High pitcher/first baseman Gunner Leger, was named a second team Louisville Slugger High School All-American as a multi-position athlete.
Robichaux calls Leger “a very physical left-handed pitcher with room to grow and fill out,” and he’s said Marks has “a physically imposing build” and “a very high ceiling with a fastball that is in the low 90s.”
Leger will be joined at UL by Barbe teammate Kennon Fontenot, who signed with Oklahoma State’s baseball team last fall. The middle infielder – also Barbe’s quarterback – subsequently was granted a release from the Cowboys that allowed him to sign with the Cajuns this spring.
TROSCLAIR, BROWN HONORED
UL signee Stephan Trosclair, an infielder from LSU Eunice, has been named a first team NJCAA Division II All-American, and fellow Cajun signee Nolan Brown, an outfielder from Texas’ Blinn College, was named a third team NJCAA Division I All-American.
Trosclair, a contender to play second base at UL next season, hit a team-best .409 with 21 doubles, nine homers, 32 steals in 36 attempts, 71 RBIs, a .502 on-base percentage and a .689 slugging percentage for 42-13 LSUE.
“Stefan is a hard-nosed infielder from one of the premier jucos in the country,” Robichaux said when Trosclair signed last fall.
The left-handed hitting Brown helped take Blinn to its first NJCAA World Series in 22 years by batting .411 with 51 runs scored, a team-high eight homers and a .634 slugging percentage.
“Pound-for-pound he may very well be the strongest player I’ve ever coached,” Blinn’s Harvey McIntyre said. “He’s a strength and speed guy – he can hit for homers and lay down a drag bunt. Those kinds of guys are very rare.”