LAFAYETTE — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette baseball team is scheduled for two midweek games over the next two days — weather permitting — and Cajuns coach Tony Robichaux would love to get some more looks at the youngsters on his pitching staff.
That unit has been impressive during the Cajuns’ six-game win streak, and Robichaux is hoping for more when UL-Lafayette (10-5) hosts UNO (6-10) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Moore Field.
The Cajuns are also scheduled to go to Baton Rouge for a 6 p.m. Wednesday game against Southern.
But with rain forecast through the week, they may have a better chance to get in Tuesday’s game on Moore Field’s turf than Wednesday’s on the natural grass at Southern’s Lee-Hines Field.
This is one of only two weeks this season that UL-Lafayette will play multiple midweek games.
“We want to continue to build depth on our pitching staff,” Robichaux said. “If you have guys that can handle that midweek section, you can have two sets of arms. We don’t have conference guys and nonconference guys because every game’s important now on the RPI.”
The returning Cajuns know that importance.
Even though UL-Lafayette went 53-7 last year and claimed one of the top eight national seeds, one of those seven losses was an 8-7 upset at the hands of UNO on April 8 when the Cajuns were ranked first nationally in two polls.
Seven of the 13 pitchers who have seen action this year are first-year players, but five of those hold the team’s five top ERAs entering this week.
Over the past 12 games, discounting the season-opening series at UTSA, the UL-Lafayette staff has a 2.46 ERA.
The bullpen — a source of concern entering the season — has been even more impressive.
In 21.1 innings last week, the bullpen allowed nine hits, three earned runs and struck out 31. In the dozen games since the opening series, that group has allowed only seven earned runs.
“We’ve built some depth there, and we can handle two games in midweek now,” Robichaux said. “We’d like to get two in, but if weather gets us, both of these teams are close by, and we can reschedule and move on.”
Cajuns pitching struck out 40 batters in the three-game weekend sweep of Troy to open Sun Belt Conference play, and UL-Lafayette will go in the road in league play for the first time this weekend at Arkansas-Little Rock.
Robichaux said sophomores Connor Toups (1-0, 3.00) will likely start against UNO and Chris Charpentier (0-2, 9.00) at Southern, but that he figures to use several arms to prepare for Friday’s return to conference play.
“We want to make sure we’re as sharp on the weekend as we were this past week,” Robichaux said.
“Sometimes guys just need an inning or so, and we don’t want them to lose any rhythm.”
UL-Lafayette’s bats also were in rhythm in the 6-5, 6-2 and 10-5 wins over the Trojans over the weekend.
The Cajuns had 35 hits in those games, 15 for extra bases, to boost their team batting average from .276 to .287.
They had 10 doubles over the weekend.
The Privateers (6-10) were swept over the weekend at Sam Houston State, a team coached by last-year Cajuns assistant coach Matt Deggs.
UNO committed seven errors and was outscored 23-4 in the first two games before losing 3-2 on a walk-off single in the Sunday finale.
UNO, though, will have one of only six Southland Conference pitchers with three wins going Tuesday night in left-hander Jordan Priddle (3-1), who has starting victories over Grambling and Sacred Heart and a win in relief against Southern Mississippi.