LAFAYETTE — As expected, heavy rain and thunderstorms crisscrossed the Acadiana area Friday, forcing Louisiana-Lafayette and Jackson State to postpone the start of their baseball series. A doubleheader was scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Moore Field.
In a new release, the school said only tickets for Saturday’s game will be honored for the doubleheader; Friday tickets will not be granted entry.
Coach Tony Robichaux and the Ragin’ Cajuns game management staff waited until roughly 4:30 p.m. Friday to make the call; it became obvious the rain and lightning was not going to let up.
“At one time, (the forecasts) called for lower chances (of rain) in the afternoon, and then it flipped on us and went back to 90 to 100 percent starting at 6 o’clock,” Robichaux said. “We didn’t want to start charging the fans money and have them sit and wonder whether we’re playing, all the food that’s got to be cooked by the concession stands people. We wanted to make an early enough decision, but not make it too early in case it did clear for us.”
The lightning in the area was the chief concern for Robichaux, not only because it carries a mandatory 30-minute delay but because of the safety factor.
“The lightning app that they had was totally yellow — just full of lightning,” Robichaux said. “I just wanted to be safe for our fans and our players.”
While the teams are scheduled to play a pair Saturday, Robichaux didn’t sound optimistic about the chances of that happening.
As of Friday afternoon, the forecast called for a slight chance of rain Saturday morning, but those chances dramatically increased by early afternoon.
“The forecast doesn’t look good,” Robichaux said. “We’re going to try to start the first one, try to get one in for sure. The biggest problem is the lightning, and it’s so unstable that when it starts again — and it’s going to definitely start again, it’s just a matter of what time, maybe 3 or 4 (p.m.) — they say it could sit on us maybe until Tuesday.
“There’s not a whole lot we can control. We’ll make every effort to get in that first game and see what the second one will bring.”
But weather is a tricky thing to predict. The forecasts Thursday evening called for a steady rain in the area for most of Friday, but outside of some light rain in the morning, the storms didn’t roll through until late afternoon.
With UL-Lafayette being on spring break, the teams could’ve played early Friday, but Robichaux said that wasn’t an option.
“(Jackson State) was traveling today,” he said. “They were coming in straight to the ball park actually, so there’d have been no way.”
In the event that the Cajuns and Tigers aren’t able to get a full three-game series in, Robichaux said he plans on contacting other teams in the area who may be affected by the weather this weekend.
“If we fall short of any games, we’ll try to schedule some midweek games with some other people in this area that I’m sure are going to lose some games this weekend, too,” Robichaux said.
He has not put out any feelers yet, though.
“Out of fairness to their coaches, we’ll get through the weekend and see what we’ve got,” Robichaux said. “If we play two, we’ll look for one (game). If we play all three, then we won’t have to look for anything. … There’s going to be some games around this area with this kind of weather that we’ve got in here, somebody’s going to probably need a game.
“We’re not afraid to travel for that game because, if it’s a good RPI game, it’ll do nothing but help us.”
Freshman left-hander Gunner Leger, who was slated to start Friday’s game, is still getting the call for Saturday morning’s game.