Going deeper: Ragin’ Cajuns pitching staff is in line to spread the innings around a little more this year _lowres

Advocate Photo by Brad Kemp -- Former St. Thomas More pitcher Hogan Harris is now with the Ragin' Cajuns.

Given his quiet, unassuming nature, St. Thomas More pitcher Hogan Harris probably felt a little uneasy by the stir he caused.

Harris, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette signee, was on hand at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field for last Sunday’s “Watch Party” where the Cajuns’ NCAA regional game with Houston was shown on the large display panel of the stadium’s scoreboard.

Upon the Cajuns’ 2-1 victory that propelled them into the championship game, Harris made his way from the field and through the stadium where he and his father Robert were on the receiving end of this popular query:

“Are you still coming here to school? You’re going to be here next year?”

If ever there was a major selling point to attract Harris, a left-handed pitcher equipped with better than a 90-mph fastball, to campus and join an already talented pitching staff, it was the genuine interest and passion the Cajuns fan base displayed.

“That’s a big aspect of wanting to go to college and help weigh the options,” Harris said. “If you get drafted, people think, ‘Cool, he’s going to that organization.’ But it’s great having such a close-knit group of people I’ve known since I was young and have always kind of followed me. It’s nice to know you’re wanted at a certain place and they would be excited if you go there and hope you succeed.”

Louisiana-Lafayette is participating in its second consecutive super regional this weekend against LSU. And it’s the belief of the most ardent fan that the arrival of Harris, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, would further bolster a pitching staff that relied heavily this season on three true freshmen.

Projections may be favorable for that to transpire with Harris expected to be taken between the ninth and 10th rounds according to MajorLeagueBaseball.com.

The three-day Major League Baseball draft starts Monday.

“Whether it be now or in three, four years, I would love to be in the major leagues,” Harris said. “But at the same time, I’d would be very happy playing in college under coach (Tony) Robichaux.”

The Lafayette area also boasts a trio who have all signed with LSU that are worth keeping an eye on: shortstop/third baseman O’Neal Lochridge and outfielder/pitcher Brennan Breaux of St. Thomas More, and Lafayette High outfielder Antoine Duplantis.

Harris’ connection to his hometown school is steeped in family tradition. Both of his parents graduated from there and are former athletes.

Harris began attending Robichaux’s camps at a young age, and it was the recommendation of the Cajuns coach to a then 11- to 12-year-old Harris to attend Ron Wolforth’s renowned Texas Baseball Ranch if he wanted to further develop as a pitcher.

That appeared to work out just fine.

Harris went on to become the ace of St. Thomas More’s pitching staff; and in three straight years, he was the team’s winning pitcher in the Class 4A state semifinal game.

This season, the Cougars won their second straight state championship, defeating rival Teurlings Catholic in the process.

Harris won all three of his postseason outings, including one of his three no-hitters this season, and struck out 30 batters in 17 innings.

“As a whole, I think it went about as a good as a season could get, winning a second state championship in a row,” Harris said. “It was definitely an enjoyable year.”

Harris, a member of the Class 4A All-State team, finished 6-1 with five shutouts, one save and a .0667 ERA. He allowed just eight hits in 42 innings with 76 strikeouts and 26 walks.

“For me, both have always been a dream,” Harris said. “Since you’re 4- to 5 years-old, and you see all these major league players on TV, you say, ‘I want to be like one of those guys’.

“But at the same time, I’ve always been a UL fan and have been to their games,” he said. “I feel like it’s more of a win-win situation, because no matter what, I’m going to be playing at a place I enjoy playing and be somewhere I want to be.”