The Grind-Arkansas State Series [VIDEO]
Since we last spoke, the Ragin' Cajuns rolled to four straight victories, including a Sun Belt sweep and a midweek comeback. Let's keep those good vibes rolling, right?
Georgia State came into town and held the Cajun hitters under .200 at the plate, but Tony Robichaux's players provided some "timely hitting" (classic Robe-ism) for three big wins in conference play. Robbins collected HR's in games one (4-2 win) and two (7-3 win), and four different Cajuns collected RBI's in a 4-1 win on Saturday.
On top of getting the sweep, the Cajuns didn't have to play on Easter. Thanks you, Sun Belt, for finally understanding how important that one day means in South Louisiana.
On the mound, Wyatt Marks had a solid bounce back performance on Thursday, only allowing two runs all the way into the seventh inning. The following day, Gunner Leger pitched like Gunner Leger (5 IP, 2 ER), then Jevin Huval and pitched the final 2+ innings for his second save of the season. To wrap up the series, Nick Lee got a gut check.
After allowing a solo HR in the first inning of the game, Lee punched back on Saturday. The Panthers weren't able to get another run the rest of the way out, and Eric Carter and Dylan Moore finished his work for him in the last two innings.
Then, everybody spent Easter Sunday away from the ball park, as it should be.
The Cajuns packed up that good mojo and brought it with them to Thibodaux too. A road win in the midweek, is always sweet, especially against an in-state opponent.
It was a fight. Seven different UL pitchers saw time on the mound to face a gritty Colonels squad. Nichols State had the Cajuns cornered, leading 4-2 heading into the 9th inning. All of a sudden, the bases were loaded for Nick Thurman. The senior catcher came through in the clutch with a two-RBI single, and Brad Antchak scored the go-ahead run on an error. The comeback was swift, but the three runs were all Moore needed to come out of the bullpen and pick up his sixth save of the season for a 5-4 win.
There's a lot to love about four wins in four games. Picking this week's Grinder of the Week was no easy task, but I couldn't deny Dylan Moore his honors.
Moore was heavily involved in three out of the four wins, including two more saves and another win. He now has six saves on the season and two wins. He already holds the university record for career saves, and the way he's playing, he might set that mark high enough that it won't be touched for a long time.
I also want to give a shoutout to Derrek Herrington, who filled in for Kyle Clement in fantastic fashion. I say "filled in" in the past tense because Clem is back, or at least it appears that way. The Cajuns' star centerfielder came in to pinch hit against Nichols State on Tuesday, which was his first taste of real game action in over a month.
Clem might not be ready for everyday usage yet, but it was refreshing to see him back at the plate.
This week's matchup comes on the road in Jonesboro, against an Arkansas State team that has their vulnerabilities. The Red Wolves are 12-12 (3-6 Sun Belt) on the season, but they lost five of their last seven heading into this weekend's series.
To make Cajun Nation salivate a bit more, A-State is allowing an average of five runs and four and a half walks a game. There will be ample opportunity for the Cajuns to capitalize on some shaky pitching, if they use some patience.
If you want one bat to watch, the Cajun pitching staff might want to be careful with Tanner Ring. He leads the team in batting average (.330), home runs (4) and RBI's (20). I'm not saying they should intentionally walk him every time up, Ring just probably won't see many decent pitches all weekend long.
You know what's better than four wins in a row? Seven. Make it happen, Cajuns.