LAFAYETTE — Now would be a good time for Louisiana-Lafayette senior infielder Stefan Trosclair to get going — and for Joe Robbins to stay right where he is.
The Cajuns found out Tuesday that senior outfielder Kyle Clement — who spent the first eight games of the season hitting behind Trosclair in the Cajuns lineup — will miss up to a month with a broken bone in his forearm.
Without Clement’s potent bat, the Cajuns could use some increased production from Trosclair, an All-American who’s gotten off to a slow start this spring, hitting .200 in his first nine games.
Trosclair looks like he’s starting to find his way out of his mini-slump, however.
He stroked a two-run go-ahead homer off the left-field foul pole in Minute Maid Park late in the Cajuns’ final game of the Houston College Classic against Rice, then followed that with a two-hit performance this week against UNO, including an RBI triple.
For what it’s worth, Trosclair said he hasn’t been pressing to do more. After his big homer against Rice, he said he was actually trying to slow himself down at the plate and be more deliberate in his approach to his at-bats.
“Baseball’s a tough game,” Trosclair said. “You’re going to fail. You just keep coming, going up to the plate and having good at-bats, good things will happen.”
Trosclair had hits in each of his past five games entering this weekend’s series against Sacred Heart, raising his batting average from .071 to .200 in the process. If he can get going, perhaps his teammates — hitting a collective .267 — will follow suit.
“We’ve got to get those guys that are down to find themselves and to help the team,” said assistant coach Anthony Babineaux. “Hopefully what Trosclair did on Sunday (against Rice), that can get us going.
“He’s a catalyst for us. If he gets going, that can take some pressure off some of these other guys that are struggling right now. They can loosen up a little bit and hopefully get going.”
Robbins, on the other hand, has emerged as a force at the top of the order.
After picking up a double in Wednesday’s loss to McNeese State, Robbins now has a hit in his last eight games, and five consecutive games with an extra-base hit.
He leads the team with three home runs and an .879 slugging percentage, and could play a large part in mitigating the damage felt by Clement’s absence in the lineup.
To do so, he has to stay consistent at the plate. Robbins got off to a hot start last season as well, with a .320 batting average, a pair of home runs and eight RBIs in the first two weeks of the season.
But he tailed off after that, hitting one more homer for the remainder of the season while his batting average dipped to .230 as he was relegated mostly to platoon duty, with spot starts in the outfield.
Babineaux said a flurry of baserunning mistakes forced Robbins’ removal from the everyday lineup, and the frustration with those mistakes led to his drop-off at the plate. But Babineaux has noticed a different animal this year.
“He’s smarter this year. He’s older. He’s more mature,” Babineaux said. “Everything that he does this year, he’s doing with a purpose. All of his work is with a purpose — his work in the cages, his work in the field, his work on the bases.
“There’s something to be said when guys get older. You just get it. It becomes easier for you, especially if you’ve put in the time and deserve to succeed, as Joe has.”