Cajuns’ Baseball Will Have A Different Look In 2013
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns finished dead last in the Sun Belt Conference a year ago, failing to qualify for the conference tournament in Bowling Green, KY.
Needless to say, there was some grumbling among the fan base. But no one used the word "unacceptable" to describe the season more than head coach Tony Robichaux.
Entering his 19th year as head coach of the Cajuns, Robichaux, along with assistant coaches Anthony Babineaux and Matt Deggs, decided to totally revamp the roster. Seventeen newcomers will be in uniform for the Cajuns in 2013.
And, the changes weren't just to the roster. Babineaux has been promoted to Associate Head Coach, where, for the first time in his collegiate career, he'll watch the game from the dugout as Robichaux's bench coach. Deggs, who joined the team after the 2012 season started, will take over as the third base coach. Volunteer Assistant Lance Harvell will be the first base coach.
Last season, Deggs mostly observed the Cajuns' players. But he was aggressive on the recruiting trail. He felt the Cajuns had to get considerably more athletic and the staff believes that has been accomplished.
But now, Deggs is in charge of the offense and Robichaux already likes what he sees.
"Matt has put in his hitting system and the players have responded. I think we'll score a lot more runs this year," Robichaux said.
Surpassing last year's total shouldn't be that difficult.
The Cajuns averaged just 4.7 runs per game last year. They hit only .263 as a team and slugged just .362. And, the Cajuns hit only 18 home runs as a team. They also had trouble manufacturing runs as they were caught stealing 36% of the time and stole just 56 bases.
Those numbers were so anemic, the Cajuns finished last despite leading the league in Earned Run Average (4.13).
Robichaux loves the fact there's been competition at every position. And, he's hoping the newcomers will pay dividends right away. But it frequently takes an adjustment period for players to adjust to Division I pitching, and the Cajuns could be no different.
The season opens with a 14-game homestand and that should help.
Next week, we'll take an indepth look at the 2013 Ragin' Cajuns.