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Baseball: UL’s little man sets table for offense

He’s the most feared .232 hitter in the Sun Belt Conference.

Of the league’s 11 baseball teams, no nine-hole hitter makes an impact on games like UL’s Devon Bourque, just because he’s seemingly always on base.

"That’s my job," Bourque said. "Play defense and get on base. I’m not a guy that’s going to drive in 50 runs, so I have to get on and score runs."

The senior from Gonzales and East Ascension does that on a regular basis. His batting average through the Cajuns’ first 44 games may be nearer the Mendoza line than the team leader, but his on-base percentage is an astonishing 166 points higher at .398.

That’s mostly because he’s tied for the team lead in walks (33), a huge number for someone hitting at the bottom of the lineup. He’s also struck out the fewest times among Cajun starters (17).

"Normally guys at the bottom don’t have a good idea of the strike zone, and he’s exactly the opposite of that," said Cajun assistant coach John Szefc. "He rarely swings at one outside of the zone."

That alone makes Bourque the scourge of pitchers, who know that their pitch count is going up every time he stands in.

"You’re always trying to get the pitcher into double-digit pitches per inning," Szefc said. "If he’s up, there’s a good chance that’ll happen. And he’s not afraid to hit with two strikes."

Bourque’s been working on that mental picture of the strike zone since his father started throwing him batting practice at age eight.

"He couldn’t throw a lot of strikes since I was so small," he said, "but he’d get mad at me when I swung at a pitch that wasn’t a strike. It’s been what I’ve tried to do ever since. I’ve just kind of had a knack for that."

Bourque has hit in the leadoff spot (Object: Get on base), the second spot (Object: Move runners up) and the ninth spot (Object: Turn the lineup over) in UL’s batting order for most of his four seasons. Each spot requires a different approach, but Bourque’s been able to handle each task while also handling several spots on a constantly-changing Cajun infield.

This year, he’s been a fixture at the bottom.

"Pitchers are supposed to throw fastballs to the No. 9 guy," Bourque said. "They don’t do that to me, but that’s OK. On-base percentage is a big number when it comes to run production. When it’s high, you’re going to score more runs. If someone’s hitting .400 but there’s nobody on base, it doesn’t mean a lot."

Bourque is hoping to continue getting on base this weekend when the Cajuns travel to face UL Monroe in a key Sun Belt series matching two of the three teams at the top of the standings. The teams meet at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"Each win we can get will help separate us some," Bourque said. "We don’t want to have to worry at the end about how other teams are doing in their games. We’re in first place and playing a team that’s making a push to get to that spot, so it’s important for us to go up there and win."

The Bourque File



  • Name: Devon Bourque


  • Team: UL baseball


  • Year: Senior


  • Ht/Wt: 5-9, 160


  • Position: SS/2B


  • Batting Avg.: .232 (10th)


  • On-Base Pct.: .398 (3rd)


  • Runs: 28 (5th)


  • Walks: 33 (Tied 1st)

    Note: In parentheses is ranking among UL’s top players.