It’s that time of the year again for baseball fans. The field is ready, the players have shaken off the rust from fall and the sound of metal bats fill the air. For the Ragin’ Cajuns, under third-and-a-half-year head coach Matt Deggs, this means that M.L. Tigue Moore Field at Russo Park is full of Cajuns fans ready to support the so-called “Water Hose Boys.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Cajuns will have traveled to Lake Charles to take on the McNeese State Cowboys. This will get ugly fast, as the Cajuns have all the momentum after a series sweep against BYU.
This weekend, the Cajuns will host the Campbell Fighting Camels. Yes, they are a real university and that is their real mascot. As of Feb. 26, the Camels are starting off hot with a record of 5-1, including an upset of the eleventh-ranked East Carolina Pirates in 10 innings. Their sole loss is to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Feb. 19. In their most recently completed game the Camels destroyed the Butler Bulldogs 25-6.
As for the Cajuns, they too are 6-1 as of Feb. 26. They, as of the aforementioned date, recently came off of an 11-10 thriller against the BYU Cougars. The Water Hose Boys’ only loss is strikingly similar to the Camels’, a Sunday loss on Feb. 19 to the Rice Owls.
I’m not a betting man, but for students who wish to attend the game, I assume you won’t pick up a scorecard and score the game. You’re there to have fun, and I don’t blame you. The Cajuns are a fun squad to watch, and it is only fitting that I predict the starting lineups for both the Camels and the Cajuns, so that you can start thinking about the chants you want to make in support and in jest.
For the Cajuns, expect Friday’s starting pitcher to be Jacob Hammonds. The senior from Monroe pitched the Friday game against the Rice Owls to begin the season. He wasn’t necessarily bad, but he left a lot to be desired. He has a 4.15 ERA, and for every walk he issues this season, he throws six strikeouts.
On Saturday, Blake McGehee is likely to take the mound in the starting role. He’s not someone who will strike out batters, but he will get outs and limit runs. In the event that he is not the starter, Sam Hill or Tommy Ray can fit in that spot in an emergency.
The Sunday starter for the Cajuns is projected to be Jackson Nezuh, a transfer from Florida State. In his lone start against the Owls, he simply played awful. He gave up seven hits, five earned runs, while only striking out one batter. Hopefully, he rebounds against the Camels.
Speaking of the Camels, Cade Kuehler is expected to duel Hammonds on Friday. In his outing against Rutgers, he threw five innings and struck out eight batters while only allowing two earned runs. Kuehler is a strikeout machine and he can be dangerous if he’s not put in check.
Saturday, Chance Daquila will face McGehee. They are both similar in the fact that they don’t throw many strikeouts but will get batters out. Daquila forces more groundouts than fly outs. This will be a pitcher’s duel of grounding out to the second baseman.
The Lord’s day will consist of a matchup involving Nezuh and Ernie Day. Ernie was not the reason for the 16-3 blowout loss to the Scarlet Knights, but if he gets in trouble, the Camels may turn to Cade Boxrucker. If he plays like he did in that blowout, then the Cajuns may secure a Sunday win.
The start times for this weekend are 6 p.m, 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. CST, respectively. If you can attend one of the games, remember it’s free with your Cajun Card (non-students and non-staff, you still have to pay, sorry). Concessions are fairly-priced, and you may have a chance to snag yourself a foul ball in the student section. However, if there’s a little kid in the general vicinity of where you’re sitting, give the foul ball to the kid.