Baseball: Back from surgery, Savoy gets the win in first UL start + Major Coach Robichaux Milestone
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, April 3, 2019
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UL coach Tony Robichaux never wondered if Logan Savoy had the right stuff.
But one rather large question did loom overheard for the redshirt freshman from South Beauregard High.
“The only doubt I really had,” Robichaux said, “was could he do it health-wise.”
Savoy delivered the answer — an emphatic yes — during the Ragin' Cajuns' 8-2 non-conference win Tuesday night over Southeastern Louisiana on M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
The lefty went 6.2 innings, allowing just two hits and two runs — neither earned — while striking out seven and walking three before handing the ball off to freshman reliever Connor Cooke.
It was a satisfying showing, indeed.
“That was great,” Savoy said, “to be able to come back on the mound and start after everything I went through last year, coming off surgery, not pitching too much and finally getting an opportunity to come out and pitch like I can.”
The start was the first of the year and the appearance just the sixth as a Cajun for Savoy, who went 5.0 innings in his other five combined and only worked more than 1.0 inning in one of the first five.
After throwing in the fall of 2017 and a little last spring, he sat out all of last season following elbow surgery and wasn’t even on UL’s 35-man roster.
Savoy (1-0) didn’t have full-blown Tommy John surgery, but did have an internal brace attached to his ulnar collateral ligament.
“I knew it was gonna be tough,” he said of returning, “but I stuck in there, went to rehab (and) did the best I can to recover and be ready for this year.”
UL signed Savoy after a junior season in which he was named the Louisiana state Gatorade Player of the Year, the LSWA All-State Player of the Year and a First team Louisville Slugger All-American.
His senior season wasn’t nearly so accolade-full, but he did start and get the win in South Beauregard’s Class 3A state-championship game.
Savoy’s Cajun career, however, didn’t exactly start as planned.
“He got overthrown his senior year,” Robichaux said, “and came here with a hurt arm.”
Early on this season, Robichaux was reluctant to use the redshirt freshman too much.
But he threw twice two weekends ago in a series against Appalachian State, and on Monday Robichaux made the call.
“He was like, ‘Hey, you got the bump,’” Savoy said. “I was excited to hear that, and I was ready.”
He exited only after giving up a single with two outs in the sixth, and that combined with Cooke’s scoreless closing effort over 2.1 innings allowed UL to save some arms during a five-game week.
Fifth-six of Savoy’s 94 pitchers were strikes.
“It’s big,” the Cajuns coach said. “Our pitching staff is compressed. … To use two arms on a Tuesday is huge ... and it’s huge for their development.
“That was big for (Savoy),” he added, “to go out and eat up the innings he did.”
Especially with so much uncertainty over whether he could.
Not that Savoy, who is from the same high school as ex-Cajuns pitcher Nick Lee, ever wondered himself.
“I try not to doubt anything, because you doubt too much it just gets to your head and you won’t do well,” he said. “So I just kept my head up and stayed positive and went through whatever I had to go through to get back on the mound.”
The key to it all?
“His elbow got to feeling better,” Robichaux said, “and he got command over his breaking break and command over fastball.”
Colton Frank’s RBI single in the second scored Orynn Veillon, who was hit.
After Brennan Breaux opened the third inning with a walk, Hunter Kasuls followed with a homer that gave UL a 3-0 lead. Veillon’s sac fly later scored Todd Lott.
SLU got two back in the fourth with a two-out, two-RBI single by Trey Harrington. Both runs were unearned because of a fielding error in left.
But the Cajuns went up 6-2 with Hayden Cantrelle’s solo homer to right in the fourth followed by a single from Lott that scored Kasuls from first.
Cantrelle’s two-RBI single in the eighth padded the Cajun lead.
The win was Robichaux’s 900th in his 25 years as coach of the Cajuns.
He predictably recognized several of his former assistant coaches afterward, including longtime right-hand man Anthony Babineaux.
“It’s not just me,” Robichaux said. “They’re all a part of this 900.”
Kasuls (shoulder bruise) returned to first base after missing two, then playing designated hitter for a few. The decision was made just after batting practice.
“He said, ‘Coach Robe, I can go; I can throw,’” Robichaux said.
Robichaux also said it’s possible that both first baseman/left fielder Daniel Lhare (ankle) and catcher Sebastian Toro (elbow) will return this weekend against Arkansas State.
The same two teams meet Wednesday night in Hammond, the makeup a game postponed earlier this season by inclement weather.
RAGIN' CAJUNS BASEBALL
UL (14-16) at SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA (14-14)
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Alumni Field, Hammond
RADIO: KPEL 1420 AM with Ian Auzenne (play-by-play) and Brad Topham (color)
UL STARTER: LHP Dalton Horton