Cajuns Don’t Have to be the Best Team in Order to Win – From the Bird’s Nest
As we get ready for the beginning of the Baton Rouge Super Regional, about everything that can be said in analysis had been said.
And the vote is unanimous: LSU has the better talent. And, it probably isn't that close. College baseball analysts give the Tigers the edge in virtually every category: Starting pitching, the bullpen, the offense, the defense, the intangibles, the athleticism and the pedigree.
Heck, it's easy to get scared just reading that stuff.
And no one is going to argue the point of where LSU's advantages are.
If this was only about talent, home field advantage and the like, then we wouldn't need to play this weekend.
LSU has the players, the fans, the budget and everything they need to be in the College World Series next weekend.
But this isn't football, where bigger stronger and faster wins out.
This is baseball, and there's room for the little guy.
The Cajuns already have proven that, back in 2000 when they took on the best college baseball team on the planet...a team with a 50-6 regular season record. A team with a three headed pitching monster that had mowed down the best the SEC had to offer.
In the first game of that series, the Cajuns' offense looked like they did for almost eight innings against Houston last weekend.. Kip Bouknight retired the first 21 batters he faced, holding the Cajuns at bay until his teammates struck for six runs in the bottom of the seventh to finally put the Cajuns away. Gamecocks fans smelled blood in the water the next afternoon as they waited for their team to put the Cajuns away so they could get on their chartered planes and watch their team win the national title.
But they ran into a resilient bunch of Cajuns...one with a freshman pitcher that was ready to stem the tide.
That's right, a freshman pitcher.
And, by the time Sunday evening rolled around, one of the biggest upsets in college baseball history had taken place.
That's the game of baseball.
And, so here we are again.
The big bad wolf is ready to devour Red Riding Hood again
Tell that to this Cajuns' team and they'll just smile.
They already couldn't possibly win the Sun Belt Tournament after collapsing in the ninth inning in the opening game. They didn't have the pitching depth to get through the loser's bracket. They had too much youth to bounce back after such a cruel loss.
They couldn't possibly beat Rice in the first game of the regional, not after the Owls took a four run lead into the ninth.
They couldn't possibly beat the home team and top seed, not after a lefty took a no hitter into the eighth inning.
They couldn't possibly avoid the "if necessary" game, not after Rice loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the seventh.
They couldn't possibly win a regional title by hitting a meager .200, especially not with their leader and their top home run and RBI guy going hitless.
Yet here they are. Still standing. Still competing. Still grinding.
And now, the task is simple. The Cajuns don't have to be the best team in order to get to Omaha. They just have to be the best team twice in three games this weekend.
That, of course, will be easier said than done. And, in the end, the Cajuns may not be good enough.
But here are some things you can count on.
The Cajuns will not be intimidated. The Cajuns will not fail to compete. The Cajuns will make the opponent play for 27 outs. The Cajuns will not lack confidence.
Knowing these guys the way I do, I'm sure they've loved what's been said and written about them this week. The task, when you break it down, is much the same as it's been throughout the first 14 weeks of the season.
This isn't a tournament. This is simply a weekend series, albeit a very important one.
Two out of three. That's the goal each and every weekend.
Go ahead....tell the Cajuns they can't do it.
Go ahead. Tell them.