The Grind-Last Weekend At The Tigue [VIDEO]
It's going to be a special weekend at M.L. Tigue Moore Field, and it will be the last time fans see it before the ballpark undergoes serious renovations.
The ULM Warhawks are coming to town to finish off the regular season, and on top of the added fun of the rivalry, the Ragin' Cajuns will be honoring a special senior class. They're carrying a lot of momentum coming off a series win over South Alabama and a clubbing of UNO, so it would only be right to start there when telling the story.
Excitement was promised heading into the South Alabama series, and it did not disappoint. The two fan bases fed off some healthy hatred, and the baseball on the field was top notch.
Gunner Leger went toe-to-toe with Jags' ace Kevin Hill for the majority of the game, but Eric Carter got stuck with the loss after an unearned run in the ninth inning. All three of the runs in the 3-2 loss were unearned, so the loss stung for everyone involved. The South Alabama fans celebrated whole-heartedly after the Game One win, but there was a lot of baseball left.
Game Two was another one run game, but the Cajuns came out on top, 5-4 in extra innings.
Nick Lee shut South Alabama down for the first six innings of the game, then things got hairy. Dylan Moore went 4+ innings with the game going back and forth, until Kyle Clement sealed the deal in the 11th inning with a solo home run. Head Coach Tony Robichaux stuck with D-Mo through a couple hiccups, and he delivered the win for his coach.
Saturday's momentum carried into the rubber match, where the Cajuns broke out with four runs in the top of the first inning. Evan Guillory held the Jags to one run in 4.1 innings, and Hogan Harris picked up his second win of the season in the 6-3 victory. To sweeten the deal, Eric Carter bounced back after Friday's blown save to collect his third save of the season.
Riding high off the series win in conference play, the Cajuns headed out to New Orleans for a matchup with UNO. It was a slaughter, 17-3 in seven innings, but the most impressive performance was on the mound.
Wyatt Marks, the regular Saturday starter, moved out of the weekend because Coach Robe wanted to play to his matchups, and he performed in the midweek like a top tier starter should. Instead of pouting about being taken out of the weekend rotation, Marks struck out seven batters in five innings and handled up on the Privateers. His offense backed him up with 19 hits, including six doubles, and Marks' slider was on point.
Speaking of Marks, he's your Grinder of the Week. He handled the adjustment from the weekend to the midweek like a full grown man, and he delivered a gem of a performance to back up an offensive onslaught.
A mercy rule victory and a series win over South Alabama provides the perfect prelude to the postseason. The only missing piece is the final series of the regular season against the ULM Warhawks.
Quick note, the games will be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Don't miss out on the game or head to the ball park Sunday and miss out on Senior Day. Mark your calendars.
The Warhawks are 20-32 and 10-17 in Sun Belt play, and their team batting average (.230) and ERA (5.52) wouldn't indicate that they're dangerous. Before completely writing off ULM, you might want to consider one thing: they're fighting for a chance to participate in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
Only one game back of Arkansas State for the eight spot in the Sun Belt, the Warhawks will scratch and claw to gain any ground they can with three games left before the tournament. Also, they would love to spoil the Cajuns' party, like any rival would.
There is always a little added emotion when it's senior weekend. Players like Stefan Trosclair, Brian Mills and Eric Carter will get a lot of applause for their on-field achievements, but don't forget about selfless players like Nick Zaunbrecher.
Coach Robe wanted to point out that the players without many innings or at bats under their belts sometimes help out the most off the field, and Zaunbrecher fits that bill. He reads the team scripture, challenges them as a senior leader, does the dirty work in the bullpen and at practice and never looks for any praise. He's on his way to medical school, so make sure to give him a roar of applause as well on Senior Day (on SATURDAY).
To add the final layer of drama to the weekend, it's likely the final weekend of baseball at the current M.L. Tigue Moore Field. It's about to get a major facelift, complete with renovations to award the loyal fan base, so enjoy the nostalgia of the current setup before it all changes.
Listen to the games on News Talk 96.5 KPEL, and follow along next week with another episode of "The Grind."