Filling out a lineup card, especially for home games, is beginning to become a daunting task for UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux.
After scoring one run in Saturday’s loss, his Ragin’ Cajuns only sent 19 batters to the plate over the first six innings Sunday in losing the rubber game of the weekend series 7-3 to Loyola-Marymount at Russo Park.
On the second weekend of the season, the UL Ragin’ Cajuns scored 15 runs in the series against Sam Houston State, but the bullpen faltered and…
“You just don’t (know),” Robichaux said. “That’s the biggest issue. Then we kind of go in and out. We’ll look one night and swing the bat real good and then two games when we don’t swing the bats real good.
“It’s so hard, because you’re looking at everything you can trying to find a common denominator. But at the same time, you’re trying to keep the defense where it needs to be and the pitching where it needs to be, because the pitching is always under duress.”
After the starting pitching was very consistent through the first 13 games, Saturday starter Dalton Horton left early after giving up two runs with some wildness, and Sunday’s starter Austin Perrin allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings.
“We’ve got to be able to give the pitchers a little bit of breathing room from time to time,” Robichaux said.
“You can only throw so many shutouts. Pitchers aren’t always going to be as sharp. Neither Horton or Perrin were sharp, but they didn’t get their doors blown off, either. Horton only gave up two runs, but when you’re not scoring, those two runs become a big issue.”
One of the most hidden points of strategy to the average fan is the back-and-forth between pitching coaches and hitting instructors during the course of a three-game series.
The visiting Lions (8-7) won that battle in this case.
As hard as it’s been for the UL Ragin’ Cajuns to corral their second win of the season, perhaps it was fitting that in came in the fashion it …
“They did a good job as hitters shutting off the pull side,” Robichaux said. “The first night, we shut them out when they were trying to turn on the ball a lot.
“They did a good job of going the other way. Every time we got out of our lanes as a pitcher — up and in or in — and got it out over the middle of the plate, they used the middle of the field. So you have to give credit to them. Their hitters made an adjustment.”
UL’s pitching limited the Lions to a .190 batting average over the first two games. That changed Sunday.
Trevin Esquerra, Tommy Delgado and Ryan Ruley all delivered two-RBI hits as part of a 13-hit attack for Loyola-Marymount, while the UL lineup only scratched for five hits.
The Cajuns did load the bases with no outs in the seventh. Kole McKinnon’s long liner to left was misplayed to chase home two, but then UL (6-9) stranded two in scoring position with one out.
“We did hit some hard balls at people at times, but we’ve got to get more consistent,” Robichaux said.
The Cajuns will host UNO on Tuesday and Southern Mississippi on Wednesday before opening Sun Belt play at Little Rock next weekend.
“We’ve got some guys who are going to have to step up," Robichaux said. "We’ve got two more home games. It’s going to be another tough week, because you’ve got another five-game week.
“You’ve got good teams coming in. There’s no time to cry or pout. You’ve got to get back out there and get physical and swing the bat one through nine.”