The Cajuns had a lot of things go their way in an 8-2 win against Northwestern State, so much so that I had a difficult time coming up with three things that could use a little more work. They breezed past the Demons to sweep the season series, and played well in all three phases of the game — mostly.
Here are a look at three things that went well for the Cajuns Wednesday night, and three things that didn’t go so well, a blog post we’ll call Three Up, Three Down, as well as links to our coverage from the game and other things that may interest me. First off, our coverage.
GAME STORY: Check back later.
- THE POTENTIAL OF JAM WILLIAMS: Freshman Jam Williams got the first start of his career, and he showed off his bountiful physical gifts despite never hitting a ball out of the infield. In the third inning, Demons leadoff man David Fry hit a hot shot to third that Tyler Girouard couldn’t quite handle, and the ball bled into left field. Williams galloped over to the ball, then had the awareness to unleash a cannon to second base where his perfect throw nabbed Fry, who was trying to leg out a double. Then, after Williams drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the third, he got inside the pitchers’ head. They threw over to first two or three times, then called a pitch out. On the next pitch, Williams was off, and he swiped second so easily that the catcher didn’t even make a throw. THEN he got such a good jump on an ensuing pitch that he also stole third without a throw. Kid’s got wheels. He finished the night 1-for-3 at the plate with an infield single and three stolen bags.
- NICK THURMAN IS EN FUEGO: The junior catcher picked up hits in his first three at bats, completing a stretch where he picked up nine hits in 14 at bats. His bases-loaded single in the fifth started a five-run inning for the Cajuns, and he improved his batting average to a stellar .457 in the game, all while expertly managing the Cajuns young pitching staff.
- REDEMPTION GAMES: It’s been a rocky start to the year for Dylan Butler and Chris Charpentier, but both had potentially break through performances Wednesday. Butler, who entered the game hitting just .111, hammered a two-run double off the wall in left-center to complete the five-run fifth. Charpentier, who was demoted from his spot in the weekend rotation after a pair of rough starts, fired a scoreless inning in his first relief appearance of the season. The Cajuns will need both these guys to perform as the season goes on.
- THE YOUTH OF JAM WILLIAMS: Williams showed off some tremendous talent on the field Wednesday, but he also showed that he has room to grow as a player. He went back to second base on Stefan Trosclair’s single in the fifth that would’ve surely been a run had he read it right. When Greg Davis, the next batter, hit a ground ball to third base with the bases loaded, Williams again held up at third base, and the Demons turned a 5-2-3 double play. These had no impact on the game, but it shows that Williams is still a raw player. Tony Robichaux said after the game that Williams’ youth showed on those plays, but he’ll learn. I agree with Robichaux here. Williams will be a very good ball player before it’s said and done, but he still needs time to learn and make mistakes.
- DEFENSIVE MISCUES: Blake Trahan and Tyler Girouard each committed an error in the first few innings, and Dylan Butler made an ill-advised dive attempt that led to a triple and a run. Errors and mistakes happen, but the Cajuns need to clean up this area of their game, especially from some of their most experienced players. The good news is that Trahan shook off his error to make a few phenomenal plays he’s grown accustomed to making at short later in the game, and Giroaurd made a diving stop later in the game. Again, the guess is the Cajuns will be fine in this department as the season progresses, but they need to start cutting down on some of the errors once league play starts this weekend.
- MY WAISTLINE: Kudos to the Cajun Cooking Club for bringing up the delectable meats to the press box on a fine Wednesday night, but do you have to make it so good? I couldn’t muster a smidgen of self control, and now I hate myself as I sit here typing out this blog with a stomach full of pork and chicken. Oh, was this just supposed to be baseball related? I couldn’t think of another thing the Cajuns had to work on from Wednesday’s game. Solid all-around performance.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“He’s just a freshman and he’s a football player playing baseball. He’s got some growing to do, but he’s been doing good, he’s been coming. You can keep him in intersquads, but he needs some of these real time things to be able to see what he’s going to do in those situations. He’s a good learner, he’s done a great job all fall for us getting better defensively, and then once he starts to be able to put the ball in play with those wheels, getting savvy, he’s going to be a good one. Our goal was to take him in as a piece of clay and just be patient with him, just keep molding him. Even in Alabama, the coaches were coming up to us after BP and going, ‘Who is that?’ That’s the presence he has, and he’s just a freshman. That’s huge.” — Tony Robichaux on Jam Williams.
STAT(S) OF THE NIGHT
2: Walks issued by the Cajuns pitching staff, which used seven pitchers to hold the Demons to just six hits on the evening. It was an economical evening to say the least from the Cajuns pitchers.
95, 96, 96, 98, 78: That is the pitch speed in miles per hour of the five-pitch sequence Reagan Bazar used to freeze Demons catcher Matthew Alford in a ninth-inning strikeout. Bazar fireballed four straight fastballs to Alford before freezing him on a beauty of a 2-2 breaking ball. When Bazar has command of his pitches, and he’s able to change speeds like that? Good luck.
If each piece of pork I ate represented a mile I needed to run, as sports information director Ben Rikard let me know as I went up for what must’ve been my third helping, I’m due for a 10-mile run tomorrow (and that’s a conservative estimate).