Baseball might not be as physical as some other sports, but it sure can still be brutal sometimes.
Just ask the UL Ragin’ Cajuns, who lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to Texas State on Saturday at Russo Park for a sixth straight loss.
UL (20-26, 8-12 Sun Belt) is just one game ahead of last-place UL-Monroe in the Western Division.
“You’ve got to keep grinding,” UL coach Tony Robichaux said. “That’s why people refer to this as a grind. This game will compress you. It will kick you. But like I said earlier in the year, the referee isn’t going to come in and stop the fight. You’ve got to keep working and try not to get knocked out.”
When you’re struggling, the breaks never seem to go your way. On Saturday, the Cajuns got more good pitching from starter Jack Burk.
“He’s been good,” Robichaux said. “It just took him a while to get going because of what he was coming off of last year. All fall, he was kind of up and down. He didn’t have much fall really and didn’t have a whole lot of spring early.
“Then he finally found his arm slot and once he found his arm slot, he’s been very good. He gave us a chance to win.”
Burk allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk and struck out two in six innings. He only threw 80 pitches.
But the game-winning run came on a wild pitch and a balk. That came two innings after the Cajuns fouled off a squeeze bunt in hopes of plating their third run before striking out.
“That’s kind of been the way it’s been for us all year,” Robichaux said. “It’s a dogfight.
“We had the safety squeeze on; that’s a run right there if we execute that. Then we get a wild pitch and a balk move for not coming set. Add one to them and take one away from us, and they win 3-2.”
That frustrating second inning actually began very brightly for the Cajuns. Hunter Kasuls’ single was followed by an Orynn Veillon triple. Handsome Monica then tied it with an RBI single, before the rest of the frame went awry with a short-game malfunction.
One thing you’ve got to give the UL Ragin’ Cajuns this season, there’s not much quit in them.
“We pitched good enough to win,” Robichaux said. “Jack did a good enough job. Their guy did a good job too, so when you get matched up like that, it comes down to something little.”
Texas State (30-13, 14-6), meanwhile, moved into a tie for first place with Texas-Arlington with the win, thanks largely to a complete game from Hunter McMahon with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
“Their guy went to wire-to-wire on us,” Robichaux said. “You hate to see that too, but at least we got the scoring down. We got the innings to not spin out of control and we got rid of the three-run inning. So guess what? You’re one hit away from winning the game. We just didn’t win it.”
Sunday’s UL starter is official undetermined, but freshman lefty Logan Savoy is a strong possibility.
“Logan Savoy has gotten some starts along the way,” Robichaux said. “From there, you’re going to need everybody. Some guys are going to have to throw some ones and maybe some twos along the way.”
Things didn't look good for UL pitcher Jack Burk a few days ago.
Austin Perrin followed Burk with three shutout innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
“Usually when you see good pitching like we did today, the next day you swing the bat a lot better because you saw good pitching the day before,” Robichaux said. “So we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”