LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette baseball team is riding a six-game winning streak, and it’s probably no small coincidence that junior shortstop Blake Trahan is riding an impressive six-game streak of his own.
In his past six games, Trahan has 13 hits in 22 at-bats, collecting multiple hits on four occasions. Nine of those 13 hits have gone for extra bases, accounting for his astronomical 1.091 slugging percentage over that stretch. He has scored 10 runs and driven in seven; was successful on both of his stolen base attempts; and has walked six times, three of them intentional passes.
He is exceeding his already-soaring All-America expectations — just don’t count on the soft-spoken Trahan to go on about how great he has been.
“I felt good this weekend; was seeing the ball well,” he said after bombarding the Troy pitching staff for five doubles and a homer in a three-game sweep. “That’s what everybody says when they’re going good, so that’s what I’m going to say, I guess. The whole team played well.”
Trahan wasn’t just knocking the cover off the ball all weekend. A couple of his doubles came on hustle alone, when he busted out of the box and took advantage of some lackadaisical outfield play to turn at least two sure singles into extra-base hits.
That kind of all-out play is exactly what coach Tony Robichaux is looking for from all of his players, but it’s an added benefit when his star is the one leading the charge.
“Your team is going to change from year to year because you lose players, but what you don’t want to have change is your culture, and that’s what our culture is,” Robichaux said. “We want to play the Ragin’ Cajun way, and that way is just how he plays. It’s hustle. We want to run hard every day, and he’s the epitome of that. I think that’s why we’ve been so successful: One of the best players on our team is also one of our best people.”
While his bat will always get the most attention at this level, Trahan also has picked up his play in the field lately, too.
He committed four errors in the season’s first eight games, but he trimmed that to two in the past seven games.
Trahan committed just 10 errors in 277 chances a year ago, but Robichaux said he needed some time to mesh with his an otherwise brand new starting infield.
“The guys that played to the left and right of him (in 2014) are gone,” Robichaux said.
They’re gone from the lineup, too. Before the season, Robichaux said he had some concerns about Trahan trying to do too much at the plate to make up for the Cajuns’ losses in experience and production.
But that hasn’t been the case so far, in either Robichaux’s or Trahan’s estimation.
“We preached it before the season started, and I think he’s done a great job of it,” Robichaux said. “Just being that good ol’ boy from Kinder — that’s what got him here, and if he sticks with that plan, he’ll be good.
“When somebody presses or thinks they have to carry a load or a burden, they can start to have pressure in their hands. Right now he’s not doing that, he understands his role as a leadoff (hitter), he’s doing the things that he needs to do.”
Cajuns headed to Houston
The Cajuns are one of six teams slated to participate in next year’s Houston College Classic, joining TCU, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Rice and Houston.
The games will be played Feb. 26-28 at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros.
“We’ve played in it a couple times,” Robichaux said. “It’s a great tournament, it’s great for the RPI, it’s great for us competition-wise. … And it puts our players in a pro ballpark, which some of these kids that never get drafted have never had the opportunity (to play in).”
Robichaux said he also expects a big crowd from the university’s large alumni base in Houston.
“It gives them a great weekend to come in and watch quality baseball at a quality venue,” Robichaux said. “We’re very glad that we’re going back.”