SAN MARCOS, Texas — The only game the Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team played at the Sun Belt Conference tournament Thursday was the waiting game.
Thanks to a nearly three-hour weather delay in the afternoon game between Arkansas State and Troy, followed by another lengthy delay in the following game between UT-Arlington and Georgia Southern, the Cajuns were not able to play their Thursday night contest against Texas State.
In fact, the UTA-Georgia Southern game was suspended because of lightning. That game will resume at 9 a.m. Friday. The Cajuns and Bobcats will play 45 minutes after the UTA-Georgia Southern game or at 11:30 a.m., whichever is later.
The Cajuns were tentatively scheduled to play Texas State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday — but by 7:30, Georgia Southern and UT-Arlington, originally scheduled to play at 4 p.m., were just getting through the first inning.
By 7:55, lightning was arcing through the skies beyond the center-field wall and the game was put into a lightning delay. By the time the Cajuns and Bobcats game was officially postponed to Friday at 9 p.m., the Mavericks and Eagles were still in a holding pattern.
The weather looked perfect as Arkansas State and Troy started right on time at 12:37, but umpires called for the game to be halted at 12:57 because lightning strikes were detected within an eight-mile radius.
It looked like a curious stoppage at first, but a couple minutes after the game was paused heavy rain started rolling through San Marcos, and lightning kept peppering the area surrounding the field.
One Sun Belt official said one strike looked like it hit the softball scoreboard just beyond the left field wall.
It didn’t help that, after the game resumed, the Trojans and Red Wolves played like a human rain delay.
The two teams combined for 37 hits, which tied a six-year old SBC tournament record. Arkansas State scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to finish off erasing what was once an eight-run deficit and rally for a 13-12 win.
The delay forced the Sun Belt to consider its contingency plans with regard to the final game of the day.
The Sun Belt tournament rulebook includes a rule that states no new inning can begin after 1 a.m., though the rule includes a clause that says it can be waived. Other than that, there was no rule that stated the game couldn’t begin after a certain time.
If the game was pushed to Friday, there would also be a possibility that the loser between the Cajuns and Bobcats would have to play back-to-back doubleheaders. If the game was played Friday morning, the loser would have to play again Friday night in an elimination game.
When also considering that more poor weather expected to hit the area Friday, the conference wanted to make every effort to get the game between the Cajuns and Bobcats in Thursday night.
But with no end in sight to the bad weather and likely no chance to start the game at a reasonable hour, the two teams decided to try Friday morning.