Cajuns Must Be Wary of Warhawks’ Pitchers – From the Bird’s Nest
At first glance, the ULM Warhawks do not have a good pitching staff. And, in reality, as a staff, they don't. ULM has a team ERA of 5.52. It's somewhat better in conference play, at 5.10.
But, there are some arms the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns have to be wary of as they head into the final series of the regular season.
RHP Keegan Curtis (2-2, 4.98) gets the start tonight for Bruce Peddie's club. Curtis started the season in the bullpen, but has gotten five starts in league play. And, in the last three, he's been really, really good. Ask Troy, Georgia Southern and Little Rock. In those games, he's allowed just 13 hits and four earned runs in 19.1 innings and is 2-0. That's an ERA of 1.83. Last Friday night, he shackled the best hitting team in the league (Little Rock) to the tune of two hits and one run in 7.0 innings.
RHP Brayden Bouchey (6-6, 212, Jr.) has been the best, and most consistent arm on the staff. He's 5-3 with a 3.43 ERA and five quality starts. Bouchey is one of the best strikeout pitchers in the league, notching eight or more in five starts, including a high of twelve on two different occasions. He had a blip on the screen last week against Little Rock, giving up five runs in 3.1 innings. But in his four starts prior, allowed just three earned runs in 25.1 innings (1.06 ERA).
ULM's third starter hasn't been announced and the Warhawks have struggled to find someone reliable in that role. Chris Hunt (3-6 6.39) was the Friday starter at the beginning of the season, but has been largely ineffective. He's lost his last four conference starts and was not in the rotation last weekend. RHP Brandon Bell (2-6, 7.06) is 0-4 with a pair of no decisions in his last six conference starts.
Peddie has relied mainly on two bullpen arms. Keller Bradford (2-2, 1 save, 3.50) has a staggering 34 appearances on the year, second in the NCAA. 17 of those appearances are in league play, where he's 2-1 with a save and 2.45 ERA. Peddie doesn't usually keep him out there long. He's only gone three innings once this year. He's given up just two earned runs in his last eight conference appearances.
Two way player Anthony Herrera (1-3, 10 sv, 1.51 ERA) is the guy with the ball with the game on the line. Herrera has five saves in his last seven appearances. He's not very big (5-9, 185) and he's not overpowering, but he's gotten the job done.
All six of those pitchers are right handed. The only lefty that has seen a lot of action in league play is Trey Auger (1-2, 4.94). He's had two conference starts and is an option as a Saturday starter. His ERA in league play, however is over 6.00.
In order to make it to the tournament, ULM must win twice while Arkansas State gets swept at Little Rock, or sweep the Cajuns as the Red Wolves lose two out of three. It's a tall order to be sure.
Tony Robichaux's long time mantra of getting rid of a starter and handling the bullpen will really hold true in the first two games of this series. Curtis and Bouchey are very capable and Peddie won't be afraid to go 100 pitches with them. If he can bridge to Bradford and Herrera, ULM's got a fighting chance in this series.