Cajuns Face Defending National Champs This Weekend
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns face their second straight crucial Sun Belt series this weekend as they head to Conway, SC to take on defending national champion Coastal Carolina.
Game times are scheduled for 5:00 pm Friday, 1:00 pm Saturday and 10:00 am Sunday. All times are central. Friday's game will be heard on ESPN 1420, while Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast on 96.5 KPEL-FM.
Head Coach Tony Robichaux has announced the Cajuns will go with their normal weekend rotation of LHP Gunner Leger (5-1, 1.27 ERA) Friday, RHP Nick Lee (4-3, 4.93) Saturday and LHP Hogan Harris (3-0, 1.37) Sunday.
CCU Coach Gary Gilmore is expected to start RHP Alex Cunningham ( 4-0, 1.97) on Friday. Cunningham was named national Pitcher of the Week this past week by the NCBWA after posting his second straight complete game shutout, a five hitter vs. Georgia State. He did not walk a man and struck out eleven. Jason Bilous (3-0, 4.72) is expected to get the Saturday start with Zack Hopeck (2-2, 4.20). All three are right handers.
The Chanticleers (19-10, 7-2 Sun Belt) were scheduled to play the Citidel Wednesday night but the game was rained out. Coastal leads the Sun Belt East, one game ahead of South Alabama. The Cajuns (17-12, 6-3) are tied for first place in the Sun Belt West with Texas State.
The Cajuns' 21 hit outburst Tuesday against Nicholls State has vaulted them into fourth place in the Sun Belt in hitting with a .276 team batting average. Coastal is sixth at .269, but the Chanticleers lead the league in home runs (41), slugging percentage (.451) and are third in on base percentage (.390). Outfielder Billy Cooke leads the Chants in hitting with a .337 average. He is tied for the league lead in on-base percentage (.501). Three Coastal players are in the top ten in slugging. Kevin Woodall, Jr. leads the Sun Belt in homers (10) and is tied for second in RBI (29)
The Cajuns lead the league in ERA (3.20) while Coastal is third (4.12). Wyatt Marks and Leger are 1-2 in the league in ERA among those with enough innings to qualify. CCU's Cunningham is fourth. Marks and Leger are also at the top of the league in strikeouts per nine innings, while Cunningham leads in overall strikeouts.
The Cajuns are also first in the league in fielding percentage (.979) while Coastal is fifth (.974).
The small dimensions of Springs Brooks Stadium (320-365-390-365-320) could play even smaller Friday as the forecast calls for stiff winds at game time Friday. Winds should subside for the final two games of the series. Game time temperature should be around 62 degrees Friday with temps falling into the low 50's. Saturday's high temperature is expected to be 67, with the temperatures rising to 73 degrees on Sunday. No rain is expected.