Ed Note: Ooo La La may want to be called the University of Louisiana, and the school may even try to rebrand itself as something other than Directional Louisiana. However, we at Roll 'Bama Roll refuse to acknowledge this sophistry: much like the LA Angels and the LA Angels of Anaheim are, and shall always be, the Anaheim Angels. Sorry, Cajuns. Your mascot is still awesome, but the state's flagship is in Baton Rouge.
All hail Cayenne
The Ragin' Cajuns
The 24th-ranked Crimson Tide, with a 6-2 record, host the ULL Ragin' Cajuns this weekend at the Hoover Met. The Cajuns come in at 4-4, after an tremendous 2014 campaign. Last season the teams played in Lafayette, with the Cajuns taking the series 2-1 en route to a 58-10 overall record. The Cajuns spent much of last season ranked in the top five.
2015 will showcase the new-look Cajuns team. ULL lost six of their top nine hitters and six of their seven top pitchers. The Cajuns have always been know as a big swinging, powerful team as evident of their 2014 team batting average of .317 with 68 home runs and 141 doubles. Seven regulars hit over .300, and two more hit at least .290.Though it is a small sample, this year's team is hitting .262 with only four home runs and 12 doubles through eight games. The Cajuns are running more, with 12 stolen bases in 17 attempts, after going 36 for 59 in 68 game last year.
Leading the way at the plate this year are Nick Thurman (.438,) Brenn Conrad (.333,) Blake Trahan (.324,) and Greg Davis (.316.) Joe Robbins leads the Cajuns in home runs with two (2), and runs driven in with eight (8.) Trahan not only leads the team in average, but has stolen four (4) bases, while Stefan Trosclair has added three (3.)
Relief pitcher Reagan Bazar is the only top pitch to return from a staff that had five guys win eight or more games last season. Evan Guillory and Greg Milhorn lead the starting staff, and Colton Lee, Will Bacon, and Gunner Leger lead the bullpen contingent.
The Crimson Tide
Offensively, the Crimson Tide is led by Casey "Casey Baseball" Hughston in most categories, including batting average (.636,) runs scored (12,) hits (21,) doubles (6,) RBIs (15,), total bases (35,) slugging percentage (1.061,) triples (tied with 1,) and on base percentage (.649). Kyle Overstreet has a .406 batting average and has tallied 14 runs knocked in. J.C. Wilhite checks in at a .381 mark, followed by Mikey White at .345 and Georgie Salem at .310. As a team the Tide is hitting .321 with four home runs, 24 doubles, and three triple. Salem is eight for eight in stolen base attempts, and the team is playing excellent small ball, successfully swiping 15 of 17 bases on the year.
On the mound, Geoffrey Bramblett has a 2-0 record with a 2.19 ERA. Taylor Guilbeau is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA. His 14 strikeouts lead the team. Will Carter is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA. Ray Castillo has made three appearances in relief, and notched two saves in his 6 2/3 innings of work. Castillo has been sharp, striking out eight, and has yet to walk a batter. Wilhite has one save in two appearances. All-American closer Thomas Burrows has yet to be in a save situation in this early season.
The availability of relief pitcher Jay Shaw is in question, as he suffered an injury during practice this week. As of press time, no decision has been made on whether he will be available in the middle innings should the need arise. Shaw's uncertainty is potentially huge blow to the Tide. He is an important part of the pen, as he fills many roles and can eat innings. Jake Hubbard made an impressive start on Tuesday against Savannah State and could be in line for increased innings. Freshman Jake Walters also was impressive in a relief role on Tuesday, and can be used as well. Expect Alex Watkins and Mitch Greer to be in the mix as well.
Friday's game has been moved from 6:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to try and beat the expected cold weather. Saturday's game two is set for 2:00 p.m., and Sunday's first pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. All times are CST and will be available online with SEC Network Plus.
For those thinking about dropping by and catching a game, tickets are still available online and two (2) hours prior to first pitch. Ticket offices are located at the main box office behind Home Plate at the front entrance.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it