After rainy weekend, baseball sets eyes on Sam Houston
Coming off of a roller coaster opening weekend highlighted by rain, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns’ baseball team will head to Southland conference member Sam Houston State for a three-game weekend series after spending last weekend at the Tangi Tourism Baseball Classic hosted by Southeastern.
The Cajuns had to wait an extra day to get their season started as the Friday night matchup against Southeastern was postponed due to rain.
So the Cajuns, instead, got their season started on Saturday afternoon against the Racers from Murray State. The Cajuns were blanked 2-0 in a game highlighted by Racers starting pitcher Ryan Dills who threw seven innings, giving up only four hits and struck out 10 Cajuns in the game.
The Cajuns picked up their first win of the 2017 campaign against the Hofstra Pride. The Cajuns’ lone run of the game, and the first of the season, came on an RBI double from senior first baseman Alex Pinero. Sophomore Nick Lee threw six shutout innings in the win, while junior closer Dylan Moore picked up his first save of the year.
The game was also highlighted by the return of senior pitcher Colton Lee. Lee sat out the 2016 season after serving a season long suspension. Lee threw two innings and only allowed one baserunner after giving up a one out walk in the seventh.
“I am proud of Colton Lee for coming back after being suspended for a year to man up and do what he had to do to get back on the mound,” said head coach Tony Robichaux.
The Cajuns will head to Huntsville, Texas for a matchup with former Cajun hitting coach Matt Deggs and his Sam Houston State Bearkats.
Deggs helped guide the 2014 Cajun offense become one of the top in the country in which the Cajuns finished one win away from Omaha and the college world series. The Cajuns also finished in the top 10 in 14 offensive categories that year.
Coach Deggs’ Bearkats return much of their 2016 team, including 18 players that lettered last year, that earned a three seed in the Lafayette regional. The full force of Deggs’ offensive system was seen as the Bearkats hit .306 as a team and stole 45 bases. Both ranking second in the Southland.
Headlining the returning players are junior outfielder Bryce Johnson and senior pitcher Heath Donica. Johnson lead the team in hitting with a .345 batting average and a .401 on base percentage. Johnson also is a threat on the basepaths as he stole 20 bases in 27 attempts last year.
Donica lead the Bearkats in innings last year as he logged 113 innings in 18 appearances while posting a 3.42 ERA. He also made one appearance against the Cajuns last season which he tossed four and a third innings and gave up four runs. The Cajuns swept that opening weekend series.
Donica started off his 2017 campaign in dominate fashion as he threw a complete game shutout against the Nevada Wolfpack. Donica gave up only two hits and struck out 14 batters en route to a 1-0 victory.
Sam Houston, who only plays two road games until March 31 (23 of 25 game), won two of three games in their weekend series with Nevada and host Texas at home today before hosting the Cajuns this weekend.