UTA faces nation’s top baseball team in Louisiana-Lafayette

Posted Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
A
More information

La.-Lafayette at UTA

Clay Gould Ballpark

Today: Brad Vachon (2-5, 5.34) vs. Carson Baranik (8-0, 2.40), 6:30 p.m.

Saturday: Zach Thompson (2-3, 4.82) vs. LHP Ryan Wilson (5-0, 1.38), 2 p.m.

Sunday: Daniel Milliman (4-0, 1.71) vs. Cody Boutte (5-0, 3.43), 1 p.m.

Records: UTA 16-21, 8-7 Sun Belt; ULL 34-4, 14-1 Sun Belt

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

The class of the college baseball world is coming to Arlington this weekend.

Ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 2 in other national polls, Louisiana-Lafayette brings its potent lineup into Clay Gould Ballpark for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series against UT Arlington. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

“These are the games where I don’t have to say anything,” coach Darin Thomas said. “These games speak for themselves.”

The numbers for Louisiana-Lafayette (34-4, 14-1 SBC) are as gaudy as you’d expect from the team with the most home runs in college baseball — a .327 team batting average, 46 homers, a .536 slugging percentage, 64 steals, 8.4 runs per game. The top three hitters in the Sun Belt are all Ragin’ Cajuns hitting above .360.

While the Cajuns have been consistently dominant, the Mavericks have been on a roller-coaster ride since the season began. They sputtered out of the gate, were swept in their Sun Belt opening series and dropped to 5-14. That’s when their offense got hot and powered them to an 11-4 run to get closer to .500. They’ve since dropped four of their last six, however.

Plagued by an inconsistent starting rotation, the Mavericks have been forced to outmuscle opposing teams in winning three straight weekend series.

It’s helped that they’ve faced the two worst pitching staffs in the Sun Belt the last two weekends, but the task is much taller against the Sun Belt’s best staff.

Louisiana-Lafayette’s 3.11 team ERA far outpaces second-place UALR’s 3.73 ERA, and they’ve got the Sun Belt’s best pitcher in Carson Baranik. Baranik is 8-0 with a 2.40 ERA in nine starts, holding opposing hitters to a .202 clip. For good measure, the Ragin’ Cajuns even have the best fielding percentage in the Sun Belt. The dominance is covered in all areas.

It’s not as if the Mavericks are incapable of pulling off an upset or two. While they’ve struggled to find consistency, they’ve defeated TCU and Baylor and lost one-run games to Oklahoma and Texas A&M.

They’re counting on a big performance from Brad Vachon on Friday night to set the tone, something he was brilliant at doing a year ago. He hasn’t done much of that this year, but if he can locate his fastball and set up his breaking stuff, he can frustrate the swing-and-miss-prone Ragin’ Cajuns.

“We need to get seven [innings] out of him,” Thomas said. “I expect him to break out of this mini-slump he’s in.”

Taking just one game this weekend would help UTA avoid falling too far from its tie for third place in the Sun Belt, but they’ll need to play big to put a dent into Louisiana-Lafayette’s 14-1 conference record.

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Francisco 10/21 8:07 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
110th World Series, Game One.
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
Houston 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Miami TV: TNT, CSN-HOU
Indiana 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Minnesota 
Utah 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Oklahoma City 
Portland 10/21 9:00 PM ET
Denver 
Phoenix 10/21 10:00 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: TWC SN, D
LA Clippers 10/21 10:30 PM ET
Golden State TV: TNT
Full Scoreboard
Week 8Full Scoreboard
Thursday
San Diego 8:25 PM ET
Denver TV: CBS/NFL Network
Sunday
Detroit 9:30 AM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Seattle 1:00 PM ET
Carolina TV: CBS
Baltimore 1:00 PM ET
Cincinnati TV: CBS
Miami 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: CBS
St. Louis 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: FOX
Chicago 1:00 PM ET
New England TV: FOX
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Houston 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:05 PM ET
Arizona TV: FOX
Oakland 4:25 PM ET
Cleveland TV: CBS
Indianapolis 4:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
New Orleans TV: NBC
Monday
Washington 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, October 21Full Scoreboard
San Jose 10/21 7:00 PM ET
Boston TV: TVA Sports, CSN-CA, NESN
NY Rangers 10/21 7:00 PM ET
New Jersey TV: MSG, MSG+
Toronto 10/21 7:00 PM ET
NY Islanders TV: TSN4, MSG+2
Detroit 10/21 7:30 PM ET
Montreal TV: FSN-DET, RDS
Arizona 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Nashville TV: FSN-AZ, FSN-TN
Carolina 10/21 8:00 PM ET
Winnipeg TV: FSN-CAR, TSN3
Philadelphia 10/21 8:30 PM ET
Chicago TV: NBCSN, CSN-PHI, CSN-CH
Vancouver 10/21 8:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: SN-PAC, FSN-SW
Florida 10/21 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: FSN-FL, Altitude
Tampa Bay 10/21 9:00 PM ET
Calgary TV: SUN, SN-W
Full Scoreboard