I'll be honest, I was hoping for this matchup twice as much as I was hoping for Houston and Rice combined. ULL suffers from a self-imposed little brother syndrome and frankly, it's fun beating them and reminding them that no, they are not "Louisiana" and they are far from not only being our main rivals, but also the best team in the state.
UL-Lafayette and LSU meet each other often, so there's not much I have to tell you that you don't know. Skipper Tony Robichaux is in his 20th year in East Lake Charles and has really built a program out of the ashes and deserves everything he gets for the job he has done. On the other hand, they play on an all turf field and wear adidas, so his decisions have been questionable at times.
USL has had a pretty damn up and down season, with the high points coming after the early season Alabama series, which they won 2 of 3, and obviously winning the Sun Belt, and the low points coming with some head scratching series losses, such as UTSA, UALR, and Appalachian State. I didn't see UL Lafayette getting out of the Houston regional, but they did and the Ragin Cajuns are dreaming of a Cinderella run to Omaha.
Offensively, the Southwest Louisiana Industrial Institute is lead by short stop Stefan Trosclair, who has the best numbers on the team in just about...every single category. With a .343/.648/.443 slash and twice as many home runs as the next LSUL player, It's safe to say if you take him out of the lineup, then the Reagen Cajuns may not have made the field after getting bounced in the Sun Belt tournament. Southwestern Louisiana has 3 other players batting over .300: Kyle Clement, Tyler Girouard, and Blake Trahan. The Raging Cajuns are not the "death by a thousand singles" team UNCW was and if they can string together enough runs to outlast the LSU offense, then that's on the pitching staff. As long as Poché and Lange can keep the ball in front of the LSU outfield, things should work themselves out. Which should be easy enough to do because of this:
Southwest Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning's pitching situation reminds me a lot of LSU's, only slightly worse. Anchoring the rotation with a 2.87 ERA, Gunner Leger will likely be the man to match up against Lange. Evan Guillory is their own Poché, with a 4.05 ERA. Usually ERAs and BAAs for starters match up well, but batters are going .268 against Guillory, which is a pretty significant improvement. Now stop me if you've heard this before, but USL has really struggled to find a third starter. 5 Caged Ins have started at least 5 games for Lafayette, and no one has really assumed the role. But just like UNCW, the Red Hot Raging Peppers have a rock to hold on to at the end of games. In 50 innings pitched, Dylan Moore has whittled a 1.42 ERA and amassed 13 saves. To be blunt, I don't want LSU to give Robichaux a reason to make Moore jog down to the left field bullpen. Closers stats are always skewed, but a 8:3 K/BB ratio is nothing to gamble with. Oh and he's only allowed 8 earned runs all year. Fortunately for the Tigers, the rest of the bullpen is nothing to remark at.
University of Louisiana-Baton Rouge rides Alex Lange to a game 1 victory then outscores the University of Louisiana-Lafayette to punch their ticket to Omaha.