Baseball’s Opening Weekend – From the Bird’s Nest
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team had plenty of questions heading into the opening weekend against Texas. Some were answered. Some were not. And, others were raised.
Here's a look back:
SOLID STARTING PITCHING--While the Cajuns gave up more free baserunners than Tony Robichaux would have liked, overall the Cajuns' starters were solid. Jack Burk wasn't the strike thrower he normally is, but he gave his team a chance to win. Nick Lee showed flashes of the guy we saw his freshman season and Hogan Harris was getting it done before having to leave early with an injury.
THE FRESHMEN CAN PITCH--Perhaps the brightest part of the weekend and the biggest question that was answered was the pitching of Austin Perrin and Brock Batty. Both were superb. Neither one pitched scared, they went after hitters and showed good stuff. Perrin throws harder than I thought, given his stature. He was 88-89. Batty simply cut up the Longhorns.
MORE FRESHMEN---Jonathan Windham and Jansen Fontenot are both going to be really good players for the Cajuns. Windham started both Saturday and Sunday and had some good at bats, though he finished without a hit. And, Hayden Cantrelle solidified his spot as the Cajuns' #2 hitter.
IT WILL TAKE A WHILE FOR THE CAJUNS TO FIND THEMSELVES OFFENSIVELY--Mainly because outside of the first three (Bourgeois, Cantrelle and Kasuls), the Cajuns don't know what the rest of the lineup will look like. Expect Tony Robichaux to continue to experiment with his lineup for a while. Here's hoping some separate themselves from the others. Not having Handsome Monica hurts...a lot.
WHAT ABOUT DYLAN MOORE?--It was unfortunate, but what we saw from the Cajuns' all-time saves leader is what we saw all too frequently in the second half of last season. His velocity is down a tick and he struggles to throw his breaking ball for a strike. Texas made him pay for it. D-Mo is still an important part of the bullpen, but he's got to throw the breaker for a strike to be effective.
THE OFFENSIVE VETERANS?--Kennon Fontenot went hitless. Todd Lott looked lost in the outfield and, once again, did a lot of swinging and missing. Handsome Monica, expected to provide power in the middle of the lineup, got hurt. The Cajuns can't rely solely on newcomers to get the job done on offense. Tyler Stover swung the bat well at times. Having someone hitting behind him with consistency would surely help.
THE CAJUNS CAN PLAY DEFENSE--They made one error (actually, two, but the official scorer gave Kody Clemens a home town call) in three games. Robichaux preaches pitching and defense, and the Cajuns, who were rock solid defensively a year ago, appear to be the same. The outfield can cover a lot of ground, the freshmen on the left side play with confidence and Tyler Stover is very good defensively at first base.
TEXAS CAN PITCH. NO...REALLY--To make a judgment on the offense based on the weekend really wouldn't be fair. The Cajuns may face those kind of arms in Houston in a couple of weeks, but as a staff as a whole is concerned, they won't face anyone like what the Longhorns have. That team will probably finish in the top ten or 15 in ERA. Their arms are really, really good. They'll make a lot of offenses look bad.
Nest up for the Cajuns is Wednesday night when they take on Southeastern Louisiana (2-1) in Hammond. Dan McDonald and Jeff Schneider have the call on ESPN 1420 beginning at 5:30