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.
This past weekend, coach Tony Robichaux’s Ragin' Cajuns made what they hope is a preliminary trip to Coastal Carolina’s campus with glowing results, taking two of three from the Chanticleers.
CONWAY, S.C. — Despite another dominant display at the plate in which UL outhit Coastal Carolina, the Ragin’ Cajuns came up just short in Sund…
Suddenly, the task of finishing among the top 10 teams in the league doesn’t look quite as tall.
“You go in there and throw a shutout at Coastal Carolina, that’s not easy to do,” Robichaux said of UL’s 10-0 win over Coastal on Friday. “And hold them down after two games to a .209 batting average, that’s not easy to do.”
For only the second time this season, the Cajuns were able to win a Friday series opener, thanks to the expert pitching of right-hander Jack Burk.
Robichaux’s hoping that hole might finally be plugged. Now it’s a matter of preventing others from creeping up this weekend when the last-place Georgia State Panthers (14-34, 5-19) visit Russo Park.
CONWAY, S.C. — Don't look now, but the UL baseball lineup is becoming a lethal weapon down the stretch.
The incentive to win is high, but so are the distractions and obstacles, Robichaux said.
Entering its final home series, UL 22-28, 10-14 Sun Belt) is a half-game behind UL-Monroe (22-25, 10-13) and one game behind Arkansas State (25-23, 11-13) for the final two Sun Belt tournament spots.
Obviously, a home sweep of Georgia State, which is five games behind UL with six games to go, would great enhance the Cajuns’ chances. While UL plays the last-place Panthers, ULM goes to Troy (25-23, 12-12) and Arkansas State is at East leader Georgia Southern (27-21, 13-11).
“Right now, we’re not looking at any standings,” Robichaux said. “We’re trying not to look back. We’re trying to beat people pitch by pitch, inning by inning and game by game. That’s what we think we have to do, not get caught up looking elsewhere.”
CONWAY, S.C. — It had all the makings of a high-scoring affair.
Sure, Georgia State is struggling, and so is Preseason SBC Pitcher of the Year Hunter Gaddis with his 1-6 record and 5.45 ERA. But this past weekend against the best hitting team in the league in Texas State, Gaddis limited the Bobcats to two runs and three hits with one walk and nine strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings on the road — and that wasn’t the game Georgia State won in that series.
“You’ve got to be careful with records,” Robichaux said. “Sometimes you end up being who your record says you are. We’re trying not to be who our record says we are at this point in time. This (past) weekend, we were able to do that two out of three times.”
Furthermore, Robichaux said it’s actually easier to go on the road.
“We’ve just got to handle all that’s in front of us this week,” he said. “This (past) week, we got to get out of town. They were together. We knew what we had to handle — Coastal Carolina.”
There are a lot of similarities between UL and Coastal Carolina’s baseball programs.
The list of potential distractions is indeed a long one.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff this week to deal with — finals, Friday we’ll get the guys graduated that are graduating, Saturday we’ll do the senior walk and then all the mothers will throw out the first pitch on Mother’s Day," Robichaux said. "And potentially we have some bad weather coming in too. So we’ve got a lot of stuff working this weekend.”