UL at Louisiana Tech
Game: 6 p.m., Wednesday.
Site: J.C. Love Field in Ruston.
Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.
Records: UL 1-2; Tech 3-0.
Last year: UL won 9-4 in Ruston; Tech won 15-2 in Lafayette.
Something’s got to give when the UL Ragin’ Cajuns hit the road for the first time in this young season and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs enjoy their home opener.
In the opening weekend, the Bulldogs’ bats were blistering, pounding out 40 runs in a three-game road sweep of Southeastern behind a .364 team batting average and a .500 slugging percentage.
The Cajuns, meanwhile, pitched quite well in all but two innings over the weekend, giving up nine of the 15 runs in those two frames.
UL’s offensive numbers were OK at times in the series, but nothing compared to Tech. The Cajuns are hitting .232 at this early juncture with 14 runs on 22 hits with no homers and a .305 slugging percentage.
“Offensively, Friday and Saturday night we had some guys splinter off from the plan, but we got back on the plan Sunday and we stayed on the plane throughout the game and the benefit was run production,” Robichaux said.
Louisiana Tech plans to start senior right-hander Matt Miller, who only lasted 1.2 innings with five runs allowed and only one strikeout in Friday’s 13-8 opening win over the Lions in Hammond.
The Cajuns are scheduled to counter with sophomore right-hander Jacob Schultz, who allowed no runs on two hits with a strikeouts in 2.1 scoreless innings in his only outing this past weekend.
“We are going on the road with young pitchers again in a ballpark where the ball travels and a good hitting team,” Robichaux said. “Again, that’s another good test for us.”
The Cajuns plan to use as many pitchers as possible in the evaluation process. So far, the time of the season is also dictating the staff's pitch selection.
It got far too interesting for UL-Lafayette baseball fans Sunday on Tigue Moore Field at Russo Park.
"This weekend, the most successful pitchers were the people who could add and subtract (fastball and change-up) in one tunnel," Robichaux said. "(Sunday starter Dalton) Horton might have thrown one curve ball. (Friday reliever Austin) Perrin might have thrown one curve ball. (Friday starter) Gunner (Leger) might have thrown no curve balls. It was just stay in the tunnel with a fastball and a change-up. Then we started to run out of the lefties that were fastball-changeup guys."
What the SLU staff tried against the Bulldogs' lineup certainly didn't work. Chris Clayton and Parker Bates both have seven RBIs on the season already. Three other Bulldog hitters have slugging percentage 1.267 or higher.
On the other hand, Tech's pitching staff after the first weekend has a team ERA of 8.33 with a struggling WHIP of 1.85, giving up an opponent's batting average of .313.
UL pitching, meanwhile, left the weekend with a 4.50 ERA, but Texas hitters only batted .269 against Cajun pitching.
"They scored 40 runs in their first weekend, so obviously they swing the bat really well," Robichaux said. "We needed to get a big hit on Friday and Saturday to sweep the series and we just didn't get it."