By: Matt Hebert
THE WEEKEND SERIES
Dates: Thursday-Saturday, May 16-18, 2013
Location: Monroe, La.
Site: Warhawk Field (1,800)
Times: 6:00 p.m. (Thu) | 6:00 p.m. (Fri) | 6:00 p.m. (Sat)
Opponent: ULM (18-33, 7-20 Sun Belt)
Radio: News Talk 96.5 KPEL-FM (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) and SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM (Thursday and Friday)
Internet Broadcast Link: 96.5 KPEL-FM and ESPN 1420-AM
Live Stats: www.RaginCajuns.com
Social Media: Twitter = @ULRaginCajuns, Facebook = facebook.com/ragincajunsathletics
Friday: RHP Austin Robichaux (UL) vs. RHP Andrew Richardson (ULM)
Saturday: LHP Cody Boutte (UL) vs. RHP Cale Wine (ULM)
Sunday: TBA (UL) vs. RHP Shelby Aulds (ULM)
The Ragin' Cajuns close out the 2013 regular season at Warhawk Field in Monroe with the season's second weekend series against ULM. Louisiana swept ULM in March during Sun Belt Conference opening weekend at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field. UL has a chance to earn as high as the No. 2 seed in the SBC Tournament, while ULM wraps up its season having been eliminated from SBC Tournament contention last weekend.
THE UPPER HAND
The Cajuns have won four of the last five series with the Warhawks and hold a 15-12 edge in Sun Belt Conference meetings.
The Cajuns are back at Warhawk Field for the fifth straight season. UL was sent to the facility in 2009 and 2010 for SBC series, and since geographical schools began playing twice a year in Sun Belt play in 2011 the Cajuns venture to Warhawk Field every season. Louisiana is 10-5 vs. ULM at Warhawk Field in SBC contests.
A BRIEF ROAD TRIP
The Cajuns will be back on their home turf hosting the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Wednesday-Sunday, May 22-26.
WINNING THE WEEKEND
Louisiana has claimed the weekend series from the opposition in 10 of the 13 series. The Cajuns have two separate streaks of five consecutive series won.
THE QUEST FOR 40
The Cajuns are five wins shy of reaching 40 wins for the first time since 2007. Three regular season games remain (ULM series) plus the Sun Belt Tournament and expected NCAA postseason play.
After ranking near the bottom in most offensive categories in 2012, the Cajuns have climbed the ladder in 2013. Louisiana ranks Top 3 in the Sun Belt Conference in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs scored, hits, RBI, doubles, triples, home runs and total bases.
THE TURNAROUND (Part 2)
Coming off a 23-30 mark in 2012, the Ragin' Cajuns have already improved their win total by 12 games and the final regular season series and Sun Belt Tournament remains.
OFFENSE NEARING MILESTONE MARKS
Louisiana enters the final week of the regular season needing 15 runs to reach 400 for the first time since 2007 and 25 hits to reach 600 for the first time since 2007.
The five home runs in the Sunday doubleheader of the South Alabama series upped the season total to 62 – the first season with 60-plus home runs since hitting 76 in 2007.
A RUN-PRODUCING FACTORY
Caleb Adams became the first Cajun with 40 RBI this season during the second game of the USA doubleheader last Sunday. All nine starters in the lineup have tallied at least 20 RBI. Ryan Leonards' next RBI will give UL eight of nine starters with 30-plus RBI.
THE ULM SERIES (Louisiana leads 69-52)
Louisiana holds the all-time lead 69-52, but the series record has been nearly even since ULM joined the Sun Belt in 2007 (Cajuns hold slim 15-12 edge). Louisiana is 26-18 vs. ULM in the Robichaux era. The series is the most-played against Sun Belt opposition (121 prior meetings). After becoming Sun Belt foes in 2007, the Cajuns and Warhawks traded win streaks. UL won the first four meetings (swept '07, claimed '08 opener), then ULM captured the next five. The teams have traded series victories the past two seasons (ULM took 2-of-3 at “The Tigue” and UL claimed 2-of-3 in Monroe in 2011; UL took 2-of-3 in Monroe while ULM swept at “The Tigue” in 2012).
EARLIER THIS SEASON VS. ULM
The Cajuns swept ULM during Sun Belt opening weekend March 15-17 at “The Tigue”. Ryan Wilson turned in a complete game on Friday night and Tyler Girouard's two-run home run in the third inning provided the lead in a 9-2 win. On Saturday, UL picked up all the runs Austin Robichaux (7.2IP, 3H, 8K) needed with five in the third inning and won 5-2. In the finale a pair of Girouard RBI singles made the difference, breaking a 1-1 tie and adding an insurance run in the sixth of a 3-2 victory. Cody Boutte held ULM to six hits in 8 1/3 innings and Matt Hicks picked up his second save of the series.
BUTLER'S BOUNCE BACK
Dylan Butler finished the month of April batting .460 (23-of-50) with four home runs, 14 RBI and a .900 slugging percentage. The hot streak helped him reclaim a spot in the starting lineup. Butler entered April with a .220 average.
FINE TUNED HITTING MACHINE
UL is coming off a red-hot month of April. The Cajuns hit .328 and slugged .539 as a collective unit during the month. Louisiana posted double digit hits in 12 of 19 games and launched 30 home runs.
FINE TUNED HITTING MACHINE (Part 2)
One dynamic of the hot streak that began April 1 was Louisiana hitting above .350 in a Sun Belt series five consecutive weekends (Troy, UALR, FAU, FIU, ASU).
THIS ‘N THAT
- Louisiana ranks first nationally in home runs (62). The last time a Sun Belt school led the nation in home runs was 2004 when New Mexico State's 115 earned top billing.
- Austin Robichaux leads the Cajuns pitching staff with six quality starts. He has worked seven complete innings in seven of his nine Sun Belt Conference starts.
- The Cajuns have plated five runs or more in a single inning 18 times. Only once (5/11 vs. USA) has the squad lost a game in which a five-plus run inning was registered.
- Dex Kjerstad tops the Cajuns with 24 multiple-hit games. The former Texas Longhorn has produced multiple-hits in 15 of 27 Sun Belt Conference games.
- The Ragin' Cajuns were ranked 27th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings released on Tuesday, May 14.
- In addition to home run power, the Cajuns play small ball well. Louisiana has executed 30 bunt singles. Seth Harrison (8) and Ryan Leonards (7) have combined for 15 bunt singles.
- Entering Week 14 the Ragin' Cajuns were one of only 31 Division I schools (296 total) with a team batting average above .300. UL ranked seventh (7th) with a team average of .318.
- Louisiana is 31-7 when producing five runs or more.
- Seth Harrison's 53 runs scored make him the first Cajun to reach the 50-run plateau since Jordan Poirrier in 2010.
- The Ragin' Cajuns hold a +119 run differential over the opposition outscoring foes 385-266. Louisiana owns 17 victories of six-plus runs.
- Louisiana has cranked out 193 extra base hits which ranks first in the Sun Belt (Troy ranks second with 192).
- Over half of Dylan Butler's hits have gone for extra bases (24 of 42). He has hit safely 12 of the last 13 games.
- Dylan Butler has accrued 16 HR and 85 RBI in his brief two-year career. He has equaled in home run total from his rookie campaign (8).
- Seth Harrison leads the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns with 53 runs scored (Top 25 in nation). The Cypress, Texas native has scored at least one run in 33 of 47 games and scored multiple runs 15 times.
- Seth Harrison ranks second on team with 107 total bases (Top 10 Sun Belt) and second on the squad with 25 extra base hits.
- Dex Kjerstad has nine (9) games of three hits and 12 total games of three-plus hits. The Amarillo, Texas native is hitting .400 in Sun Belt play (tops in the league after nine weeks of play) and leads Louisiana with 76 hits (Top 25 in nation and leads Sun Belt).
- Dex Kjerstad is hitting .405 since March 19 with 21 multiple-hit games over a 33-game span. He sported a stretch of 26 consecutive games having reached base from March 19-April 30.
- Tyler Girouard currently leads the Sun Belt Conference in average (.374). His average has been above .360 since March 10.
- Tyler Girouard is 12 hits shy of 100 career hits. He has hit safely in 33 of 44 games.
- Blake Trahan has accrued 144 assists, ranking him eighth (8th) in the Sun Belt Conference. The true freshman has committed only five errors (playing at shortstop) in his last 124 chances.
- Blake Trahan has hit safely in 40 of 51 games played and recently produced a season-best, 10-game hitting streak (April 21-May 5).
- Of his 41 games started, Ryan Leonards has made 21 starts at second base, 13 starts in left field, five starts in center field and two starts at DH. He's also seen playing time at first base and third base.
- Ryan Leonards has reached 50 hits in back-to-back seasons and is riding a stretch of hitting safely in 24 of the last 29 games.
- Jace Conrad has only 14 strikeouts in 194 plate appearances. The Lafayette native ranks Top 100 in the nation in toughest to strikeout and has reached base 42 of 49 games.
- Jace Conrad is four hits shy of reaching 50 for a second consecutive season. He has accumulated 103 career hits in brief two-year career.
- Michael Strentz ranks Top 40 in the nation in doubles with 18. His doubles total ranks highest amongst Sun Belt Conference catchers. Strentz ranks fifth on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns squad with 35 RBI and fourth with 38 runs scored.
- In first full season after returning from Tommy John surgery, Michael Strentz set personal single-season bests in average, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.
- Caleb Adams leads the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns with 13 home runs and 44 RBI. He also tops the team with 12 multi-RBI games (has six games with three-plus RBI).
- Caleb Adams ranks Top 20 nationally in slugging percentage at .653 (98 total bases in 150 at bats). He is one of only seven (7) Sun Belt players that meet statistical minimums to have a season slugging percentage above .600.