Cajuns Still Have a Lot to Play For – From the Bird’s Nest
Louisiana’s Ragin’Cajuns can’t win the Sun Belt Conference title this weekend. That was decided last weekend when the Cajuns dropped two of three to South Alabama while Troy was winning its series against Arkansas State.
But there’s plenty to play for when the Cajuns travel to Monroe this weekend to take on ULM.
For one, there’s seeding. The Cajuns could still technically be seeded anywhere between second and fifth as they enter the weekend. To get the two seed, they simply must win one more game than Troy, who closes at South Alabama, and not lose one more game than Florida Atlantic, who plays at FIU. If there is a three way tie for second, the Cajuns win the tiebreaker against both Troy and FAU.
If the Cajuns don’t finish second, they’ll finish third if they win the same number of games as FAU does in Miami this weekend. Anything other than those two scenarios and they’ll be either the #4 or #5 seed.
Coaches will tell you the company line: It doesn’t matter where you’re seeded, it doesn’t matter what side of the bracket you are on. They’ll say that…but they don’t necessarily mean it.
Personally, I’d rather not have to face South Alabama until the championship game. But, that’s just me.
The Cajuns’ RPI is also in play this weekend. There’s no way the Cajuns are going to get any type of RPI boost by playing ULM, even if they sweep the series. ULM’s record (18-33) just isn’t going to factor in well when opponents winning percentage is calculated. The Cajuns RPI is currently in the high 20’s, which probably means they’re headed for a #2 seed. But they’ll need to win the series in order to keep their RPI in the top 32.
The Cajuns will stack their rotation the same way they have the last few weekends. Austin Robichaux (7-2, 3.26 ERA )will pitch game one, Cody Boutte (8-3, 5.26) in game two and then the coaches will choose a game three starter after seeing how their staff stacks up after the first two games.
Cale Wine (6-7, 3.89) is the ULM ace. He will pitch game two on Friday night. Andrew Richardson (0-1, 6.86) goes on Thursday, while senior Shelby Aulds (4-7. 4.09) will throw Saturday night.
ULM is hitting the ball a little better, but they are still last in the league in hitting in conference games (.248) next to last in slugging percentage (.357), last in on-base percentage (.328) and last in runs scored (117) and hits (.221).
The ballpark should be conducive to the Cajuns’ aggressive hitting style. The ball normally carries well there and the wind frequently blows out.
I expect ULM to play loose and play with a purpose. They’ve got quite a few seniors and this is it for them.
The Cajuns need to be prepared for the Warhawks’ best shot. Because there’s still a lot riding on this weekend.