Robichaux: Baseball is on way to season success
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns baseball team has become an enigma of sorts. If you look at how the Cajuns stack up statistically throughout college baseball, you would be led to believe the Cajuns are one of the top teams there.
The Cajuns have pitched well, posting a team ERA of 2.96, which is good for 19th best in the country out of 295 teams. The Cajuns also do not hurt themselves with errors — sporting a .978 fielding percentage good for 34th best in the country, or by walking batters, as the Cajuns have a 3.01 strikeout to walk ratio, which is 24th best in the country.
The Cajuns even have a respectable .270 team batting average, which places the Cajuns in the top 40 percent out of the 295 Division I college baseball programs.
Yet the Cajuns, who are 13-9 overall and 4-2 in conference play, fell from 16 to 21 in the D1 baseball rankings and fell completely out of the Baseball America top 25 rankings coming off of a two and three week, which is highlighted by a loss to a 9-15 Tulane ballclub.
Head Coach Tony Robichaux, however, said he thinks the team is working their way to breaking through.
“We’re trying to continue to get better in the batter’s box,” said Robichaux. “This weekend, we started to get some three-run innings and do a little more damage. We were more physical up and down the lineup.”
That physicality at the plate was provided in part by junior outfielder Tyler Stover. The junior transfer who started his career at Kansas State went 3-4 on Sunday afternoon with two doubles, a walk and one RBI.
Stover started the first four games of the year for the Cajuns, going 1-11 at the plate with a walk. Stover only got seven plate appearances over the span of the next month, getting one hit while walking before his breakthrough on Sunday afternoon. Stover, who was hitting .111 prior to Sunday, raised his batting average by 116 points to .227 with the Sunday breakthrough.
“He’s a guy that we thought at the beginning of the year would help us out and be one of the more physical hitters for us,” Robichaux said.
The Cajuns will have to continue to swing the bat well as they have another week with five games, not including the continuation of the suspended game against Southeastern from February 20.
“We have to keep grinding it out,” said Robichaux. “Most people quit this time of the year. Their new shoes aren’t new anymore or their new bat isn’t good anymore.”
The Cajuns will play the 18-6 McNeese State Cowboys on Tuesday in Lake Charles and then travel on Wednesday back to Hammond to finish the suspended game from February 20 against Southeastern (14-9). Once the Cajuns and Lions finish the suspended game, they will play their regularly scheduled game 30 minutes after the first game ends.
The Cajuns will close out their week at home for a three-game weekend series against the South Alabama Jaguars, who the Cajuns shared the regular season co-championship with last year. The Jaguars are 5-1 in conference play so far.
“The bottom line now is this is where you have to start making your move and decide whether you’re going to be a camper or a hiker,” said Robichaux. “We want to be hikers. We want to continue to hike up this mountain and not be campers where we set up camp and watch people pass us. Most people don’t quit at the bottom of the mountain. They quit halfway up it.”