LAFAYETTE — Earlier in the week, UL-Lafayette coach Tony Robichaux cautioned about what can happen when a team provides LSU with kindling for a spark.
With a mostly pro-LSU crowd of more than 10,000 on hand Tuesday night in Metairie, that warning came to fruition in the Cajuns 8-6 loss.
LSU jumped on Cajuns pitchers early and capitalized on mistake pitches, hitting three balls well out of the park. Robichaux isn’t sure those same results would have played out without the large crowd.
“That’s adrenaline,” Robichaux said. “You come back tomorrow and throw those same guys batting practice, I’m not saying they’re not going to hit it out, but it’s a lot tougher hitting it out with no adrenaline.”
The same can apply on the defensive end, when LSU snuffed out a ninth-inning rally by turning a tough 6-4-3 double play on a ball hit in the hole by speedy shortstop Blake Trahan, which LSU third baseman Conner Hale followed with a difficult snag and long throw from third base to end the game.
“You saw the plays they made at the end of the game, that’s adrenaline,” Robichaux said.
“That’s what makes them great, their crowd gets around them and gives them some adrenaline. And when you’ve got, that you can do special things.”
But this was all part of the plan for Robichaux, who especially wanted to baptize a young pitching staff by fire in a hostile environment.
Of the seven pitchers who threw for the Cajuns on Tuesday, five were not on the roster last season, and six hadn’t pitched in that type of environment before. Robichaux hopes it will pay dividends if the team reaches a regional at the end of the season.
Those pitchers learned a valuable lesson Tuesday night. Robichaux just hopes that the next time they’re in the situation, they can recall what happens when the pendulum swings in the other team’s favor.
“Tonight, we didn’t pitch good enough early to keep the adrenaline down,” Robichaux said. “We got bad counts and had to come in to a very good hitting team. They do what we did last year: They hammer mistakes.
“You have to not make mistakes, and we made too many mistakes early by getting the ball up.”
Rested Eagles on deck
The Cajuns will have the remainder of the week off before welcoming Georgia Southern to ‘Tigue’ Moore Field for a three-game set, and it will be interesting to see how the Eagles perform.
Georgia Southern did not play a midweek game this week and perhaps could benefit from the rest. It got off to a hot start but has been swooning a bit as of late, losing five of its past eight Sun Belt Conference games and eight of its past 14 overall.
In those eight losses, the Eagles have been outscored by 5.4 runs per game, though that number is somewhat inflated by a 22-6 loss to Georgia Tech.
End of rough patch in sight?
Cajuns cleanup hitter Greg Davis went 0-for-4 against LSU, extending his streak to five games without a hit. He’s hitless in his past 20 at bats, dropping his batting average from .319 to .263.
But signs point toward this being an anomaly rather than an indication of things to come.
Davis has struck out only three times in those five games and has still managed productive at bats, with three sacrifice flies.
In his first 19 games, Davis’ batting average on balls in play was a robust .333, but that number has since dipped to .277 for the season. With Davis putting so many balls in play, that number should retunr to a normal level around .300 soon.