Cajuns Bats Need to Come Alive – From the Bird’s Nest
The good news for Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns heading into this weekend's conference play is the team is on a two game league winning streak.
The bad news is, Western Kentucky isn't the opponent this weekend.
The Cajuns managed two wins at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field last weekend as Chris Griffitt, Caleb Kellogg and Jordan Harrison held the Hilltoppers to one run in the final two games. WKU is dead last in hitting in conference games, batting a paltry .226 in their twelve league games.
Florida International is coming to town this weekend and if the Cajuns are going to get anything done, the bats are going to have to come alive, because FIU won't be held to one run in two games. The Panthers scored twenty runs last weekend in their sweep of Troy.
The Cajuns have scored sixteen runs in their last nine games.
FIU has eight home runs in conference play.
The Cajuns have nine home runs all season.
FIU has won nine of their last ten.
The Cajuns have lost nine of their last eleven.
Are you starting to get the picture?
During the last nine games, the Cajuns are hitting .203 as a team. And, that's after getting 13 hits in a game against FAU and ten in Sunday's game against WKU. During that stretch, the Cajuns only have one player hitting above .300 (Ryan Leonards at .360.) They have five hitting under .200. The Cajuns are averaging 1.8 runs and 6.2 hits per game during that stretch.
Unfortunately, that's only part of the story.
In the first 23 games, the Cajuns averaged four free baserunners (via walk and hit by pitch) per game. During the last nine games, they average just two.
In the first 23 games, 30 percent of the Cajuns' hits were extra base hits. In the last nine games, it's just over 17 percent.
It's not just that the Cajuns' aren't hitting. Their slugging percentage and on-base percentage, the biggest factors in scoring runs, have been abysmal during this nine game stretch. When you struggle to get men on base, you can't get extra base hits and you don't get free baserunners, you don't score many runs.
The Cajuns' pitchers are taught to stay away from the three-run inning.
The last time the Cajuns' offense had a three run (or more) inning was March 23 against Arkansas State. Since then, the Cajuns are 2-9.
In the last nine games, the Cajuns have 15 rbi. Last week, FIU's Jabari Henry had 13 RBI all by himself.
Now, I'm not totally shocked by all these numbers. With so many young players in the Cajuns' lineup, I figured there would come a time, around mid-season, when scouting reports would get out and some guys would struggle.
But it's not just the young guys. In the last nine games, the three seniors are hitting a collective buck and a quarter.
The Cajuns, all season long, are batting barely .200 against left-handed pitching. It's the biggest left/right disparity in several years.
FIU will start two lefties this weekend. FIU is tied for the league lead in ERA with the Cajuns.
With all that being said, FIU has their own warts. They are terrible defensively and, while they are a good hitting club, you can pitch to them, albeit carefully. The Cajuns, however, can't count on bad FIU defense and good Cajuns pitching to get them through this weekend.
This team has got to do a better job of getting guys on, getting them over and getting them in.
Starting this weekend.