Peaks, Valleys and 40 Wins – From the Bird’s Nest
Over the course of a 56-game regular season in college baseball, a lot of different things can happen. And, in the course of that season, every facet of the game will have its ups and downs.
Even if you're the number two ranked team in America.
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns have won a lot of games this season. And, one thing Coach Tony Robichaux has stressed is the fact that his Ragin' Cajuns have won in just about every way imaginable.
They've won with dominating starting pitching. They've won with solid relief pitching. They've won with two of their top pitchers hurt. They've won high scoring games. They've won low scoring games. They've won with lockdown defense, possibly the most consistent phase on a team that's been pretty darned consistent.
But, your season is going to have peaks and valleys, even within the individual categories of the game. And, within individual players as well.
The Cajuns went through a period where they had at least nine hits in 32 of 33 games...and went 28-5. There have been six games in which the Cajuns have had seven or fewer hits. They are 5-1 in those games.
A lot of the hitters have gone through at least one trying time during the season: Blake Trahan had a five game stretch where he was 1-19. The Cajuns won all five. Caleb Adams started 2-11, then had a four hit game...and then went 4-22. The Cajuns during that 6-33 slump? 9-2. Ryan Leonards was recently 2-24. Cajuns went 5-1. And, right now, Michael Strentz, since his three run homer at McNeese on April 9th, is just 3-32. The Cajuns have won all nine games he's appeared in during that stretch.
The pitchers have had their travails as well. In his last six starts, Carson Baranik has given up four or more earned runs on five different occasions. The Cajuns won five of those games. Austin Robichaux has given up five runs in 6.1 innings since coming back. The Cajuns won both games. Greg Milhorn has been hit pretty hard in his last three outings out of the pen, but the Cajuns won two of the three. Cody Boutte gave up seven earned runs in his first three outings of the season...all Cajuns' victories.
The point is this: Virtually every player is going to have some highs and lows during the season. And, fans, because they're fans and they care, start to worry about this guy...and that guy...
And, one of the reasons they stress out is they try to project today's struggles to the Cajuns' team goals. They suggest if so and so does this against better competition the Cajuns don't have a chance.
Here's something I've learned. Good teams elevate their games at just the right times. Good individual players embrace the pressure.
The Cajuns who have gotten eight hits in their last two games have won both games.
With all the peaks and valleys the players have gone through, this team has won 40 games.
And May isn't here yet.