Baseball: The Tigue - What is next for UL's baseball park?
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, June 12, 2018
Major renovation of M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park may look done, but it’s not.
What’s next for the home ballpark of coach Tony Robichaux’s UL baseball team?
If UL athletic director Bryan Maggard has his way, the answer is more construction.
“We need to re-engage conversations about a baseball clubhouse and office space for our coaches to be incorporated in Russo Park,” Maggard told The Daily Advertiser.
More than $18 million in renovation work was completed prior to the recently finished 2018 season, including new grandstand seating, new suites, a new press box and a new brick facade.
Now Maggard has more in mind, and it’s something Robichaux knew would have to wait at least a bit while the primary project was underway.
The Tigue — which has a listed seating capacity of 4,850, but can hold more when counting standing room — recently was host site for the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Robichaux’s Cajuns went into the tournament as SBC West Division winners and the No. 2 seed, but after UL exited at 1-2, only tourney winner Coastal Carolina, the No. 1 seed, and No. 3 seed Troy advanced out of the Sun Belt to the ongoing NCAA Tournament.
The call for more work at The Tigue comes as the Cajuns also have opened a 6- to 8-week feasibility study for planned major renovation of Cajun Field, home stadium for the UL football team.
“That’s one of the finest ballparks in America,” Maggard said of the baseball stadium, “and we just need to really cap it off with a first-class clubhouse for our student-athletes and an office suite and meeting rooms for our staff.”
Robichaux, displaced from his longtime office at The Tigue by the reno work, currently has his office at the close-by Cox Communications Center, a building that dates to 1971 and that also currently houses the Cajuns’ locker room along with offices for members of UL’s sports information department and its marking department personnel.
Related: UL's Robichaux seeks more punch
It was announced over the weekend that Cajuns pitcher Hogan Harris had agreed to terms with the Oakland A’s organization after being selected in the third round, 85th overall, of last week’s Major League Baseball Draft.
According to MLB.com, the junior agreed to a signing bonus of $660,000 – slightly below the pick’s slotted value of $683,800.
The St. Thomas More High product already has left Lafayette to join the A’s organization.
Harris was one of four Cajun pitchers drafted, along with senior Logan Stoelke (ninth round, Pittsburgh), junior Nick Lee (ninth round, Tampa Bay) and senior Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year Colten Schmidt (23rd round, Colorado).
According to draysbay.com, Lee “expects to sign.”
Related: UL lefty Schmidt picked in MLB Draft
ON THE MOVE
Cajuns outfielder Blake Faecher is transferring to Blinn College in Texas, according to a tweet from the juco’s baseball program.
Faecher — from Cy-Fair High in the Houston area — appeared in five games for UL as a freshman in 2018, hitting 3-for-21 over 10 games, including six starts with five coming at designated hitter and one in left field.
Faecher also was an emergency catcher, but he never played in that role, as Kole McKinnon handled every inning after starter Handsome Monica got injured in UL’s season opener.
The Cajuns previously said pitcher Haden Erbe, who is playing this summer for the Texas Collegiate League’s Acadiana Cane Cutters, will transfer to another school.
Meanwhile, ex-Cajun Ryne Ray tweeted last month that he’s transferring to Louisiana Tech.
Ray — a product of Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport — redshirted previously at UL with an injury, then hit .302 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs over 47 games this year at the juco level for Panola (Texas) College.
IN THE FAMILY
Outfielder Heston Kjerstad, the brother of ex-Cajuns outfielder Dex Kjerstad, is a freshman starter for College World Series-qualifier Arkansas.
Dex Kjerstad — a juco transfer from Amarillo, Texas — finished two hits shy of a UL record for hits in a season with 99 while hitting a team-high .388 in 2013.
He left school early to go pro despite being undrafted out of college and made it to as high as the AAA level, playing three games last season for the New Orleans Baby Cakes before being released by the Miami Marlins organization.
According to a report from KPEL 1420 AM’s Jay Walker, the Cajuns’ radio play-by-play announcer, “examinations showed surgery is not necessary” for starting pitcher Jack Burk, who was out due to elbow soreness late in the season.
UL did not immediately confirm the report.
LOTT'S SUMMER ASSIGNMENT
Cajuns outfielder Todd Lott is playing this summer for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League, not the Wareham Gatemen as previously announced by UL and widely reported.