Getting to No. 1 is one thing. Staying there is another story.
Photo by Buddy Delahoussaye
Turns out the Ragin' Cajuns had little opportunity to get used to being No. 1. Apparently their short stay doesn't bother Coach Tony Robichaux, who would rather his team simply, "win every series and the midweek games."
Over UL's 14-game winning streak leading to the school's first ever national No. 1 ranking the Cajuns won 12 games by three runs or more. Cajun pitchers held opponents to four runs or less in 13 games while averaging over 9 runs a game themselves. Whenever the other team scored the Cajuns responded, often in their next at bat. They were hot.
Saturday's 14-3 loss to Western Kentucky ended all that. And when the Hilltoppers took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first of the second game a new streak, a losing one, seemed possible. Reverting to form the Cajuns answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first and held on for a 10-9 win. "When you get punched in the face like we did in game one, you have one of two choices. Either get ready to get punched again or punch back," said Robichaux. Sunday Jace Conrad's grand slam broke a 3-3 tie and Cajuns won their eighth consecutive series since the second week of May, 2013. Still Robichaux in his role as pitching coach had to be concerned. WKU rocked Cajun pitching for 27 runs in three games.
Enter the snake-bitten Tulane Green Wave. Greenies Coach Rick Jones has not coached from the dugout since March 16 because of blood pressure issues. Doctors recognize starting six freshmen is not conducive to his recovery. After a big midweek win over LSU, Tulane spent a lost weekend in West Virginia. On Friday Marshall won 3-2 with a two-out, two-run walk-off single after the
Green Wave left 17 runners on base. Saturday's game was suspended by rain in the seventh with Marshall up 2-1. A Sunday snowfall made that suspension a final and canceled the third game of the series.
On the way to Lafayette Tuesday Tulane's bus broke down near Butte La Rose.
The Greenies arrived at Tigue Moore an hour before the first pitch in time to face a recharged pitching staff and hitters Robichaux described as "nasty." Tulane was held to three hits, and only one runner made it as far as second base. The Cajuns had 22 hits, nearly a third for extra bases.
Normal service is resumed.