Baseball: UL still needs one win to ensure Sun Belt tourney spot
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 13, 2019
Heading into its final three-game series of the 2019 regular season, which opens Thursday night at UL Monroe, UL still must win one game to guarantee itself a spot in next week’s 10-team Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
One loss by Arkansas State, which closes against Little Rock, and which has lost four straight and 10 of its last 13, would get UL in as well.
The only way the Ragin’ Cajuns do not make it is if they were to be swept by ULM and Arkansas State were to sweep Little Rock.
Moreover, it’s also possible that the Cajuns – currently with the eighth-best record in the league at 13-14 – earn as high as the No. 5 seed in the SBC tourney, which will be hosted by Coastal Carolina in Conway, South Carolina.
Todd Lott (9), Orynn Veillon (21) and Daniel Lahare (26) congratulate UL senior catcher Handsome Monica (23) after his three-run homer in Sunday's Senior Day 11-5 win over Georgia State. (Photo: James Mays/Special to the Advertiser)
Think coach Tony Robichaux has gone over all that with his Cajuns?
Don’t, not even for a second.
“No, because it’s not part of our process,” said Robichaux, who didn’t even want to hear the possible scenarios.
“We have to worry about playing baseball for us to be successful. Anytime … you get off a process and start worrying about a result, I just don’t think it’s good, and right now winning is a byproduct of them staying on the process, and that’s what we really have to stay on top of.”
It hasn’t happened nearly often enough for Robichaux liking this season, but winning is something the 25-28 Cajuns have done a good bit of recently.
UL has won three in a row, sweeping its home series with last-place Georgia State this past weekend, and 5-of-6, including a pair of victories at Coastal Carolina.
With that, the Cajuns head to 23-27 ULM with a lot still on the line.
UL goes into the series with a 1.5-game lead on ULM (11-15) and a 2.0-game on Arkansas State (25-26, 11-16) in the Sun Belt’s West Division, which is topped league-leader Texas State at 34-17 overall and 18-9 in league play.
“I like this. I like all the pressure,” starting pitcher Brandon Young said. “I like ‘everything counts.’ ”
The Cajuns head to Monroe feeling pretty good about themselves too.
“This group of seniors, this team, is showing our resiliency, for sure, in the last stretch, I guess you can say,” pitcher Gunner Leger said after UL’s Senior Day win over Georgia State on Sunday. “We’re not done, man. We’re not done.
“I think we’ll make a story out of this. We’re playing well right now. We’re getting hot at the right time.”
Leger is not alone in feeling that way.
“If we get in,” senior second baseman Hunter Kasuls said of the Sun Belt tourney, “anything can happen.”
“It (doesn’t) matter if we’re playing the No. 1 seed, whatever, in the conference tournament,” catcher Handsome Monica said. “We know we’re gonna make an impact, and no team wants to play us – no matter if we’re the last seed in the tournament, whatever it is. We’re coming in then, when we make it, and we’re coming strong. You know, we’re not afraid of anyone.”
Robichaux loves the attitudes.
As for the specifics, though, he’s not about to get hung up on any of those.
“Some people are saying this is how high you can possibly get, this is how this can happen, or that,” the Cajuns coach said. “I just think we have to do go in there (ULM) and play good baseball … get in there and plow with the ol’ mule, and look up on Saturday and see where we’re at.”