LAFAYETTE — Junior shortstop Blake Trahan and freshman pitcher Gunner Leger headline a group of six Louisiana-Lafayette players who made the All-Sun Belt Conference teams announced Tuesday.
Trahan was named the Player of the Year after hitting .332 with 25 RBIs and 15 stolen bases at the top of the Cajuns order. The league tabbed Leger as Freshman of the Year after his rise from the bullpen to fearsome Friday night starter.
Second baseman Stefan Trosclair joined Trahan on the first team after hitting 13 home runs in his debut campaign. Trosclair spent the early portion of the season working back to full strength from an injury over the summer, but he went on a tear late. Twelve of his homers came after the calendar flipped to April.
Three Cajuns joined Leger on the second team. Fellow freshman Dylan Moore saved nine games for the Cajuns while compiling a 1.76 ERA over 41 innings. Sluggers Kyle Clement and Tyler Girouard also were honored on the second team.
The Cajuns’ six all-conference selections led the SBC, with Troy coming in next at four. The teams are selected by coaches around the conference, and coaches can’t vote for their own players.
Clement wasn’t even a regular in the starting lineup until the second half of the season. But he hit for the cycle against Jackson State on April 11, and from that point on he was arguably the Cajuns’ most difficult out. In his final 22 games, Clement hit eight home runs and raised his batting average 98 points.
Girouard, a fifth-year senior, wasn’t planning on playing baseball this season, but he decided to give it another go. He earned a spot on the league’s second team for the second straight year after hitting .333 and providing valuable leadership to a young team.
But Trahan and Leger stole the show.
Trahan went full-circle. He was tabbed as the league’s preseason choice for Player of the Year, and then he played like it.
The Kinder native spent most of March either flirting with or above a .400 batting average and was the spark at the top of the order that ignited a Cajuns offense that scored the league’s most runs. He also put some early-season errors behind him to play solid defense behind a young pitching staff, committing only three errors in his final 41 games.
Leger’s first appearance this season came in relief, but when it became apparent that the Cajuns would need to retool their weekend rotation, he quickly ascended the ladder.
He hit every step of the ladder, from the bullpen to staff ace. Though not overpowering, Leger showed an aptitude for the science of pitching and ended the season throwing 35 consecutive innings without issuing a walk. Leger enters the conference tournament having recorded four consecutive starts of seven or more innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs.
South Alabama’s Kevin Hill (nine wins, 1.79 ERA, 92 strikeouts) was named Pitcher of the Year. The league tabbed Mark Calvi as Coach of the Year after he guided South Alabama to an outright regular-season championship.