The Major League Baseball draft begins next Monday, potentially on the final day of UL-Lafayette’s participation in the Baton Rouge super regional.
But Ragin’ Cajuns coach said he Tony Robichaux doesn’t expect that to be a distraction for junior shortstop Blake Trahan.
“BT’s done an exceptional job with that all year,” said Robichaux, whose team opens play against host LSU at 7 p.m. Saturday in the best-of-three super regional at Alex Box Stadium. “He’s put himself in a position where he doesn’t have a lot to worry about.”
Robichaux, who had a record seven players drafted off his 2014 squad, expects the Kinder native to go in the top two rounds when the draft begins at 5 p.m. Monday.
“He’s to the point now where he’s probably low first round or top second round,” Robichaux said. “By the top of the second round, he’ll be gone.”
Trahan, named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, takes a .324 batting average into super regional play. He made only nine errors all season while starting all 63 games and playing all but five innings at shortstop.
Robichaux said the situation is much different from one year ago when several Cajuns were part of what he called “fishing expeditions.”
“We had so many guys not knowing if they were going above the 10th (round), after the 10th, and we had guys calling saying, ‘We’ll offer you this in the seventh and will you take it,’ ” Robichaux said. “We had some guys playing in the super regional last year that hadn’t been drafted and some had. We had a lot to deal with last year. One thing about BT, he’s not shuffling around so much.”
Taking care of business
Robichaux said Tuesday there would not be a repeat of the ugliness of the 2002 regional at the old Alex Box, when tempers flared between the teams. UL-Lafayette beat Tulane 6-3 and LSU 5-0 in the first two games of that regional before the Tigers took back-to-back 12-2 wins over the Cajuns to advance to the super regional.
“Hopefully we’ve all learned a lesson from that,” he said. “We are two higher institutions of learning, so we should be able to learn from it. I think their team plays with class, we’re going to go down there and play with class.
“We’ve prepared our players for it. It’s a non-issue for us. I think both of us are going to go out there and play really hard. If it gets to the edge of the envelope, I know Paul (Mainieri, the LSU coach) will take care of his guys and I’ll take care of mine, and we’ll leave it to playing baseball.”
Junior third baseman Brenn Conrad is questionable after tweaking a leg injury during Monday’s 5-2 win over Rice in the Houston regional.
Conrad left Monday’s game in the top of the fifth inning after a one-out single when he pulled up trying to go from first to third on Kyle Clement’s single to right field. The Lafayette native had a similar injury in the Sun Belt Conference tournament finale when the Cajuns beat South Alabama 5-1 in 12 innings.
Robichaux said he hopes to at least have Conrad as a pinch hitter if he is not available at third base. He and junior Joe Robbins have platooned at third late in the season against right- and left-handed pitching.
“We’ll have to see how that leg recovers as the week wears on,” Robichaux said. “When you do that twice, it starts to weaken. I’m glad we get that extra day and it’s a Saturday super regional, and we didn’t have a long travel back (from Houston).”