Baseball: Struggling Cajuns hope to start over against Terrapins - Schedule Adjusted - DH Saturday
Schedule Change: Louisiana to Play Saturday Doubleheader Against Maryland
LAFAYETTE – With scheduled rain in the forecast on Sunday, Louisiana baseball will now play a doubleheader against Maryland on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m. The second game will begin approximately 45 minutes following the conclusion of the first contest.
Kevin Foote, The Acadiana Advocate, Feb. 28, 2019 firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s not really a do-over.
When you get off to an historically bad 1-6 start – matching the worst of the Tony Robichaux era and program’s worst since going 0-7 in 1993 – there’s no way to really run from it.
That’s not really Robichaux’s style anyway.
But getting Tuesday’s road trip to Southeastern postponed until April 3 may end up being just what the doctor ordered for the UL Ragin’ Cajuns.
It gives the shell-shocked Cajuns an opportunity to catch their breath and evaluate what’s transpired so far in this young season.
On one hand, UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux would love to be true to his old axiom.
It also gives them a chance to start over again – sort of – when the Maryland Terrapins comes to town for a three-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Russo Park.
“We’ve got to have tough skin,” Robichaux said.
Certainly the elephant in the room must improve dramatically for the Cajuns if they’re really going to put this disappointing start in the rearview mirror.
But there’s likely more to build on from these first seven games to give UL fans hope than meets the eye.
For starters, the way the experienced bats responded to Saturday’s first collapse at Sam Houston State was a great sign.
“I thought our hitters did a great job in the doubleheader,” Robichaux said. “We scored enough runs to win and I thought our starting pitchers did a great job.”
After watching a 5-1 lead disappear in the 7-5 loss in game one of the series in Huntsville, Texas last Saturday, the bats of the team leaders helped build a quick 6-0 lead over Sam Houston in the next game.
Senior catcher Handsome Monica was 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs. Senior second baseman Hunter Kasuls, who is leading the team at .387, had three hits.
Sure, much of the effect of that hot start was again wasted by the bullpen collapse, but it still happened. It was still a positive sign of fighting back and not just wilting mentally.
Coming into this baseball season, most of the questions revolving around the UL Ragin’ Cajuns’ prospects this spring revolved around the pitch…
Yes, the team is 1-6, but all preseason signs pointed toward a much improved offensive attack this spring and nothing has changed that thus far.
Another positive is sitting out southpaw ace Gunner Leger.
Sure, it would have been nice for Leger to toss six shutout innings in the Sam Houston State opener, but the bullpen might not have held it anyway.
And theoretically, Leger wouldn’t be as ready to pitch this weekend and beyond.
He had a “very small piece of inflammation,”
He had a “very small piece of inflammation,” Robichaux explained, and could have pitched last weekend if needed, but the staff leaned on the side of caution.
Perhaps if Robichaux knew the likelihood of getting swept, he would have made a different decision, but not likely. With a special pitcher who had missed two years, being overly cautious is wise.
Theoretically, not having a game Tuesday will give Robichaux more options. Perhaps Austin Perrin and Jacob Schulz can double-team a game. Or perhaps either one can tag-team with Leger on Friday or Dalton Horton on Saturday to close out a win.
While the early-season troubles of Jack Burk and Brandon Young may eliminate them as options any time soon, the potential options to provide ointment to the bullpen’s open wound remain many.
For instance, left-hander Logan Savoy still hasn’t pitched.
With that said, it’ll be surprising if Robichaux doesn’t shorten his options a little bit against Maryland.
It’s just four games at the beginning of a long college baseball season.
It’s going to take a while before the trust issues in the bullpen are resolved.
In the meantime, the next chore is to make sure the positive signs hidden by the 1-6 start don’t disappear once the relief pitching recovers.
“If we could just keep the other things we’re they’re at,” Robichaux said. "Last year, we got out to a slow start with our hitters, we had to get the pitchers to keep pitching and buy the hitters some time. What we’ve got to do is keep the hitters where they’re at, keep the position players playing defense and then keep the starting pitcher where it’s at … and then get some guys in the back end of the bullpen that can keep the momentum of the game down and spinning out of control."
Maryland at UL Baseball
Series: 6:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday.
Venue: Tigue Moore Field at Russo Park.
Radio: KPEL 96.5 FM.
Records: MARY 5-2; UL 1-6.
UL projected starters: LHP Gunner Leger (0-0, 0.00) Friday; LHP Dalton Horton (1-0, 0.82) Saturday; TBA Sunday.
MARY projected starters: RHP Hunter Parsons (1-0, 1.38) Friday; RHP Zach Thompson (1-1, 6.10) Saturday; RHP Trevor LaBonte (0-0, 2.84) Sunday.
UL team stats: Hitting (.258, 31 runs, 4 HRs, 12 SBs); Pitching (5.08 ERA, 62 IP, 65 H, 40 BB, 38 K, .273 OBA).
MARY projected starters: Hitting (.240, 35 runs, 5 HRs, 11 SBs); Pitching (3.86 ERA, 63 IP, 58 H, 35 BB, 57 K, .243 OBA).