LAFAYETTE — Maybe somewhere in the binders handed out to incoming Louisiana-Lafayette freshman pitchers next season there will be a picture of Gunner Leger’s black and blue rib cage.
Leger took a hard line drive off his ribs in the fourth inning of Saturday’s start. The ball ricochetted off Leger to third baseman Joe Robbins, who threw to first base for the final out of the inning.
The ball left quite the mark, which coach Tony Robichaux jokingly said he’d use as a learning tool.
“I told him I wanted to take a picture of it and put it in our pitching stuff for the classroom session next fall,” Robichaux said. “We’re going to show the incoming pitchers what happens when you call a fastball in and you throw it down the middle.
“That’s what happens when you don’t stay in your lanes.”
Of course, Robichaux said this all with a grin, and he’s only able to do that because Leger came away from the shot OK.
They weren’t always sure that was going to be the case. Those who saw it happen live said it looked pretty scary.
“It’s not the first time I’ve ever gotten hit, but that’s the first line drive I’ve ever taken,” Leger said. “When he hit it, I thought I was going to catch it, then it hit me and I said, ‘Well, that’s not my glove.’
“It kind of took the breath out of me and I went to my knees.”
Since Robbins got the final out of the inning, Leger and the athletic trainer were able to take their time and make sure Leger was feeling all right.
They checked it out between innings and Leger was cleared to get back on the mound. Leger admitted later it was probably just his adrenaline that made him feel good enough to get back out there, because later that night he was feeling pretty rough.
He was feeling bad enough that the Cajuns thought he might have cracked a rib after all. Leger took an X-ray after he returned to Lafayette, after which he found out he just had a contusion.
Though he’s still sore, that’s not stopping him from beating himself up.
“It’s bruised up, just kind of purple and yellow,” Leger said, before adding, “I should’ve made a better pitch.”
Stefan Trosclair became the second Cajun in as many years to hit for the cycle, a feat he accomplished in a seven-inning blowout of UT-Arlington on Sunday.
It was the first time Trosclair had ever hit for the cycle in his baseball career, and he wasn’t about to leave himself short.
The Cajuns were leading 16-5 in the seventh inning when Trosclair came to the plate needing a triple to pull off the rare feat. When he ripped a ball into the gap, he’d already made up his mind where he was going to end up.
“Right when I hit it, all I was thinking about was getting to third base,” Trosclair said. “I didn’t watch the ball, I just hit it and looked for the bases because I knew where I was going.”