From the Bird’s Nest: A badly needed sweep
When you're fighting to get back in the Sun Belt race, and you're playing the last place team at home, you have to take care of year business.
The Cajuns certainly didn't win easily, but they won. And, as a result, they find themselves two games out of first place with nine games left to play.
Saturday the Cajuns won....well....because there's a reason why UALR is in last place.
The Trojans had this one. They led 6-3 going into the bottom of the ninth. But, inexplicably, the Trojans walked four in the ninth inning. That brought home one run. Jordan Porrier's grounder got the Cajuns a run closer. And, Lance Marvel delivered a clutch two-out single to plate the tying run.
The Cajuns' bullpen struggled in the seventh and eighth innings, but Caleb Kellogg shut the door on the Trojans over the last two-plus innings and gave the Cajuns a chance in the tenth. Matt Goulas singled and Ryan Leonards bunted him to second. An error put runners at the corners for Alex Fuselier. Fuselier was asked to safety squeeze on the very first pitch and although his bunt wasn't a thing of beauty, it did the job and the Cajuns won a game that they probably shouldn't have.
But, over the course of a 56 game season, that happens. You'll lose a game or two you were supposed to win and you'll win a game or two you're supposed to lose. If the game you win is in conference, that's a good thing.
Sunday, it was the T. J. Geith show.
One thing we've noticed is that both Geith and Taylor Hubbell pitch better as the weather gets warmer. And, Geith was superb on Sunday. He allowed only six hits....four of them were infield hits, and three of them were bunt singles.
When you're bunting a lot, that means you know you can't hit the pitcher.
Geith struck out a career-high eight batters and was never really in any trouble. The Cajuns, meanwhile, broke open a tight game with a three run inning and Geith did the rest, notching his second straight complete game win. Geith now leads the Cajuns in wins with five.
Michael Strentz had some pretty bad at bats over the weekend. But he also had some good ones, including a shot off the base of the left field wall which knocked in two runs to give Geith some breathing room.
Both Matt Goulas and Mike Petello had big weekends for the Cajuns. Fans have to be especially happy for Goulas. The Cajuns' captain didn't play for several conference series. But Goulas has been inserted back into the lineup and it seems that every at-bat has been a productive one for the senior from New Iberia. He came up big more than once for the Cajuns over the weekend.
Louisiana now stands 13-8 in Sun Belt Conference play, two games behind Troy and tied with the two Florida schools for second place. The Cajuns travel to Troy next weekend and then their final two series are against teams that are a combined 14-28 in league play. FAU will go to Western Kentucky next weekend while FIU plays a Middle Tennessee team that's been tough to beat at home over the last few series. The two Florida schools have to play each other.
The Cajuns will have a very tough task next weekend at Troy, a team that is solid in all facets of the game. But UL has never lost a series to the Trojans and if they can duplicate that feat, the schedule certainly is favorable the rest of the way.
The Cajuns will take a break for finals this week before heading to Alabama.
Nest weekend will be crucial...it could also be really interesting.