LAFAYETTE — Judging by the early success enjoyed by right-handers Greg Milhorn and Evan Guillory, UL-Lafayette appears to have two-thirds of its weekend rotation ironed out.
But it looks like the third spot is open for competition.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are going into this weekend’s series against Alabama with a plan to use a Johnny Allstaff approach to Sunday’s game, where they use roughly one pitcher per inning rather than relying on a starter to take them deep into the game.
“We’re going to go Guillory (Friday) and Milhorn (Satuday), and when we get to Sunday we’ll put somebody out as a starter and then probably one-one-one it all the way through,” coach Tony Robichaux said. “We need to see the rest of the guys.”
Sophomore right-hander Chris Charpentier, who started the Cajuns season-opener against UTSA, struggled in his most recent start, lasting only two innings in a 4-1 loss to Stony Brook.
It appears the Cajuns are opening competition for Charpentier’s spot in the rotation. In two appearances, Charpentier is 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA.
Robichaux still wants to see some of his young pitchers throw more before he makes a move to complete his rotation — especially against a Southeastern Conference team this weekend.
Freshman left-hander Gunner Leger could push for a spot in the rotation after two solid midweek starts, but Robichaux didn’t mention him specifically Wednesday.
“I wanted to get some of these freshmen in early because I didn’t know what we have,” Robichaux said. “You hate to pitch a freshman one time, and he wets the bed and then not bring them back out again. I wanted to bring them back out for the second time to give them a little bit more confidence.”
The Cajuns are likely to announce Sunday’s starter after the conclusion of Saturday’s game.
To err is human, but ...
Robichaux has not been pleased with his team’s defense so far. The Cajuns have committed 15 errors in eight games, and worse, many of those have come from their most experienced players.
Take Tuesday night’s 17-inning 5-4 loss to McNeese State, for instance: The Cajuns committed four errors — all of which came from juniors and seniors.
“It cost us the ballgame,” Robichaux said. “We could’ve won in nine (innings) just by taking away an error here, an error there. Those can’t be done. That’s being done by older guys. We have to clean that up.”
Robichaux chalks it up, in part, to his team needing to develop some chemistry in the field. Blake Trahan, who has made four errors already this season, is getting used to having to cover more ground now that Ryan Leonards and Jace Conrad aren’t playing to his left and right, Robichaux said.
The good thing for the coach is that the Cajuns’ early season problems are fixable.
“Boy, the scary thing for a coach is when you’ve got something you can’t fix. ... Here, I think this is fixable,” Robichaux said. “I think we’re better than what we’ve shown defensively. That’s an area we’ve got to get better in.”
Doubled up again?
The weather is likely to be frigid Friday night in Hoover, Alabama, but Robichaux hasn’t heard anything about moving the game to Saturday — not yet, at least.
Robichaux said he’ll speak with Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard after the team arrives in Alabama on Thursday afternoon.
“We’re going up to practice (Thursday) and we’ll probably talk at practice,” Robichaux said. “I’m sure he’s got TV and a bunch of issues when you talk about playing a school of that magnitude. We’ll see. ... There’s a difference between cold and dangerous, so we’ll take a look at it.”