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Baseball: Cajuns Unveil Challenging 2018 Schedule
LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team is set to face a challenging schedule in 2018 that features 28 home contests, head coach Tony Robichaux announced on Thursday. The Ragin' Cajuns will face eight NCAA tournament participants from last season with 11 of the first 15 contests coming against teams that made the postseason in 2017.
"First of all, scheduling is a beast," Robichaux said. "Baseball scheduling works pretty far in advance, so the tricky thing about this schedule is trying to keep the best RPI value on the schedule while at the same time balancing the investment that we made in our stadium by bringing good baseball here. It's not easy to find teams that want to play home-and-home, but we were able to do that. Bab (Anthony Babineaux) did a great job on this schedule. Adding a home-and-home with Texas is going to be great for our fans.
"We think this is a great RPI schedule. This is going to be a tough schedule that will test us, especially after losing the players that we did to the draft along with the seniors we lost. It's not easy to stay old when you have good players because they usually get taken in the draft."
The Ragin' Cajuns open the season on the road at Texas with a three-game series from Feb. 16-18. Louisiana then opens the home slate on Feb. 23-25 with a series against Wright State at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field at Russo Park.
For the second time in three years, the Cajuns will appear in the Shriner's College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The Ragin' Cajuns will face three SEC opponents in the tournament with matchups against Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
"Getting back into the Shriner's College Classic is big for us because it's a tournament that is driven by your fan base," Robicahux added. "We have a great fan base that shows up on the road. It's also good for us because we have a good fan base in Houston with the oil and gas industry there. The Shriner's College Classic is a great tournament that will test us as we will face three very good SEC programs early in the season."
Following the Shriner's College Classic, Louisiana will host LSU at Russo Park for the first time since the 2013 season on March 7. The Cajuns and Tigers will also meet for the fourth straight year at the Wally Pontiff Jr. Classic on March 27 at the Shrine on Arline.
"It's great to have LSU back here in the midweek," Robichaux said. "It should be a great atmosphere as it's a game that our fans usually look forward to. It'll be one of those postseason type atmospheres, so that will be great for our players to get a feel for it early in the season.
"Again, we are honored to be selected again to play in the Wally Pontiff Classic. To be able to continue to honor Wally's legacy is something that means a lot to us as his family fights to keep his memory alive. The crowds have only gotten bigger and bigger the last couple years and we are proud to be a part of that."
Other notable non-conference matchups include a three-game series against South Alabama (March 9-11) at Russo Park and a pair of games at Southern Miss (April 3-4).
The Ragin' Cajuns have four home-and-home series against in-state foes including Southeastern Louisiana, McNeese, Tulane and Louisiana Tech.
Louisiana opens its 2018 Sun Belt Conference schedule at Georgia Southern on March 16-18. The Cajuns also have conference road series at Arkansas State (March 29-31), Appalachian State (April 13-15), Georgia State (April 27-29) and Texas State (May 11-13).
The Cajuns play host to Troy (March 23-25), UT Arlington (April 6-8), Little Rock (April 20-22), Coastal Carolina (May 4-6) and ULM (May 17-19) in Sun Belt play at Russo Park.
The Ragin' Cajuns will host the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Tournament from May 23-27.
"Hosting the conference tournament is great," Robichaux noted. "I know all of the coaches in the conference love coming this way because we have the turf and rain usually isn't a problem. Our fans also show up in big numbers when we host the conference tournament and it makes for a great environment. I think the teams from the conference enjoy playing in that type of environment, and it makes for a great week of baseball."
For the latest updates on Ragin' Cajuns baseball, follow Ragin' Cajuns baseball on Facebook (RaginCajunsBaseball), Twitter (@RaginCajunsBSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsBSB) or check RaginCajuns.com.
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