Coaches generally like to be prepared going into a game or a series.
Now that UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux finally feels adequately equipped for a Friday series opener for the first time all season, try not to remind him too quickly about what happens for Game 3.
Truthfully, he has no answer for that one.
UL coach Tony Robichaux has been trying to do better than a 3-2 week all season long.
Asked in Monday’s weekly news luncheon if he’s down to simply pulling a name out of a hat, the realization of how close to accurate that actually is said it all.
“That’s almost (where we are),” Robichaux said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
That’s an uncomfortable position to be in with his Ragin’ Cajuns sitting at 22-28 overall and 10-14 in Sun Belt league play. Ten of the league’s 12 teams qualify for the conference’s postseason tournament.
Currently UL stands 11th — a half-game behind UL-Monroe, a full game behind Arkansas State.
“Again Sunday, the walks again,” Robichaux said of the Cajuns’ latest poor Sunday start in an 11-9 loss at Coastal Carolina. “That’s what got us.”
In UL’s past three Game 3s, the pitching staff has allowed nine, 10 and 11 runs.
Things didn't look good for UL pitcher Jack Burk a few days ago.
The plan for the first two games appeared to be pretty solid.
This past weekend, Jack Burk’s emergence earned the Cajuns only their second Friday win of the season with former starter Austin Perrin polishing off the final three innings for him. Brandon Young had a subpar Game 2 outing Saturday, but Jacob Schultz bailed him out in middle relief.
“We have to now try to win every game in that order,” Robichaux said.
It’s UL’s version of the old Braves slogan, “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain,” referring to a lack of starting pitching depth.
Perrin’s had plenty of good starts throughout the season, but Robichaux would prefer to keep him in the bullpen.
“I’m sure he wants to start,” Robichaux said. “All pitchers want to start. I just personally like him where he’s at. I like Perrin behind a starter. I think when you piggy-back him, that’s when he’s at his best. Has he done well as a starter? Yes. Would I start him? Yes. But I just like him there.
“He reminds me a lot of Andy Gros when people have to swing their way back into a game and they’re swinging at change-ups. That’s hard to do. I hate when we face a guy with a real good change-up.”
A week ago, the UL baseball team seemed to be facing an uphill climb to even qualify for the Sun Belt Conference tournament in Conway, S.C.
If he would start Perrin, there’s still the chore of following him up.
“Either way, even if you start him on Sunday, you’re still vulnerable by that time on the back end of the bullpen,” Robichaux said.
He’s tried to use Jacob Schultz as a starter, but that didn’t work.
“I like J. Schultz in relief,” Robichaux said. “It’s hard to find good middle reliever. But when you lack some depth without a closer. He was able to get those last couple outs for us.”
The other potential options include: Logan Savoy (1-2, 6.14 ERA), Dalton Horton (1-2, 6.44), Blake Schultz (3-1, 7.04) and Connor Cooke (3-0, 7.26).
Obviously, the best-case scenario would be if preseason Friday night starter Gunner Leger would be available. Robichaux said he’d even consider using Leger as an opener to get off to a good start on Sunday for a change.
If not, it’s basically pulling a name out of a hat … or at least being very creative.
“It’s just a matter of seeing what you have left from Friday and Saturday,” Robichaux said. “It might be a mixture of taking two to three arms and trying to get a guy two innings and another guy two innings and another guy maybe an inning or two. We have a tendency with lack of experience of (not) getting out of an inning.
“Sometimes you have to let some guys have a clean inning, so we may have to adjust out. You can bring (Caleb) Armstrong in with bad stuff. You can bring Grant Cox in with bad stuff, but then some of them, it’s tough. They can’t stop the spinning.”