The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team went into this weekend focused on accomplishing one of two things: Learn how to win two out of three in a super regional type of environment, or figure out what needs work early enough in the season to have time to iron out the rough spots.
In that sense, it was impossible for the Ragin’ Cajuns to leave Houston without taking something positive from it. At least, that was the plan. And you know what? Considering the long haul, it was a win-win situation.
But that doesn’t change the sting felt in the short term.
They started the weekend by losing two winnable games — including one when they had the lead going into the ninth inning — thanks to some shoddy defensive work at shortstop.
Those miscues negated what was mostly an excellent performance by the pitching staff, but the bats didn’t help much. They were either too anemic or unable to cash in.
What’s worse: managing only five hits against TCU on Friday, or scoring just three runs on 11 hits Saturday? The answer is neither; the answer is also that neither is very good.
At least things ended with a feel-good moment thanks to Stefan Trosclair rediscovering his power stroke at the right time and Nick Lee playing beyond his years in Sunday night’s win against Rice.
It wasn’t a great weekend, nor even really a good one. But the good news is that it wasn’t a complete trainwreck, and even in the bad, the Cajuns should be able to find some good down the road.
That, after all, was part of the plan.
If things didn’t go to plan, that is.
JOE ROBBINS EXPERIENCE, PT. 2
I wrote last week that Robbins might’ve been the best player on the field, and he followed that up with another strong showing. Robbins went 6-for-12 at the plate this weekend and also may have found a new home at shortstop. Of course, that’s where he played before some guy named Blake Trahan came along.
FIVE OF SEVEN AIN’T BAD
Freshman left-hander Hogan Harris was virtually unhittable Saturday against TCU, striking out five of the seven batters he faced. He was blowing fastballs by some good hitters, then buckling knees with a slow curveball. He is very quickly becoming an important part of this rotation.
It ultimately didn’t matter, but Derek Herrington made a fine play in right field to send Saturday’s game to extra innings. With the score tied and the bases loaded, he made a running/tumbling snag on a slicing fly ball that looked destined for the gap. That’s a hard play to make coming in cold off the bench.
Shortstops Hunter Kasuls and Brad Antchak committed critical errors on plays that could’ve ended an inning Friday and Saturday, and both of their mistakes led to big rallies that the Cajuns weren’t able to rebound from. This will get better with time, but it was a really rough weekend to be a Cajuns shorstop.
A couple of umpiring gaffes hurt the Cajuns this weekend. There was a TCU double that was changed to a home run despite the fact it clearly stayed in the park and a strike-three call (on strike two) and subsequent phantom timeout that kept a Cajuns run off the board and earned Robichaux an unwarranted ejection.
Gunner Leger did a good job of keeping down a potent TCU lineup Friday; he just didn’t get to do it for very long. He only lasted 4.2 innings, and he needed 87 pitches to do that. He said TCU’s batters had a good eye for the umpire’s zone and he didn’t have his usual command of his pitches. That’s a bad combo.
The lighter side
Crazy stat of the weekend
4-of-6: Wyatt Marks retired the first six batters he faced in Saturday’s loss to Texas Tech. Four of them watched a slider for strike three.
Quote of the weekend
“The bottom line is, if you want to play big-boy baseball, you’ve got to put your big-boy pants on. ... We’ve got to get more guys with big-boy pants.”
— Tony Robichaux
Press-box food consumed
Minute Maid ain’t got nothin’ on the Tigue. I ate an apple this weekend, y’all. At a baseball game. I thought this was Texas, home of deep-fried butter? Better yet, I thought this was America?