LAFAYETTE – The first three held down the fort on opening weekend.
Now Louisiana-Lafayette’s fourth super sophomore pitcher will get his shot.
Right-hander Evan Guillory, one of four freshman pitchers to play a key role in the Cajuns’ late-season surge to the super regionals, will appear for the first time this season as the starter for the Cajuns (3-0) against Louisiana Tech (2-1).
This is also the team’s first road game of the year, which worked out nicely for coach Tony Robichaux as he implements a four-man rotation of Guillory, sophomores Gunner Leger and Wyatt Marks and freshman Nick Lee.
“We want Guillory to get out and finish this fourth start of this rotation on the road,” Robichaux said. “We set it up that way because we knew it would be more difficult on the road, and we’re trying to protect the freshman on Sunday. We got it set up the way we want it.”
Guillory pitched some big innings for the Cajuns during the stretch run last season. With the Cajuns on the brink of elimination in the Sun Belt Conference tournament, he fired six innings of one-run ball against UT-Arlington, keeping the Cajuns’ hopes afloat in a tournament they went on to win.
He started the regional championship in Houston last year against Rice, and he responded with five mostly brilliant innings, earning the win that sent the Cajuns to the super regional round.
His fellow sophomores Leger, Marks and Dylan Moore had a banner opening weekend, combining to allow just four hits and one run in 15 innings of work while striking out 14.
The Cajuns hope they can count on consistent production from Guillory as well, because midweek games will be important when it comes down to positioning at the end of the season.
“With the RPI, every game to us is a conference game,” Robichaux said. “You get more RPI points if you win on the road, so that’s a plus. He will face LSU, Tulane twice, Southern Mississippi.”
Wednesday’s game will also signal the renewal of a long-running series that has included 140 meetings between the schools.
The last time the Cajuns met the Bulldogs on the baseball field was in May 2008. The Cajuns lead the all-time series 78-62, and Robichaux is responsible for 27 of those wins in 35 career meetings.
The series will resume Wednesday as long as nature complies. The Bulldogs had a game scheduled against Little Rock for Tuesday, but it was postponed because of bad weather.
The forecast doesn’t call for rain, but it’s supposed to be cold and windy Wednesday night — another reason Robichaux is glad he’s not putting a freshman on the mound for a debut appearance.
“The temperature’s going to drop. I think the wind’s going to be blowing out pretty hard,” Robichaux said. “We’ll see what that brings. I’m glad that’s on a ... guy with more experience than Nick Lee as a freshman.
“Not that he couldn’t handle it, but it’s a lot better to put this in somebody’s lap that’s got a little more experience.”
After an impressive 8-for-13 weekend at the plate during a sweep of Sam Houston State, Kyle Clement was named the Sun Belt Conference Student Athlete of the Week.
Clement tied a school record with five hits Sunday. He ripped a pair of doubles in the series and also drove in a team-high four runs.