Looking back at Lafayette Super Regional

A few thoughts on the travel “off day” …

One, the Rebels have reached the CWS with quite a difficult path. Washington was a really good No. 2 seed, worthy of hosting.

That being said, I liked the matchup of Ole Miss against La.-Lafayette in the super. The Cajuns were very good and worthy of the praise thrown their way.

ULL was not just a grip-and-rip offense. They were a very good small ball team with good team speed and played small ball not only when dictated by the book.

Maybe the tough postseason opposition the Rebels have endured so far will further prepare them for Virginia in their CWS opener Sunday.

Back to the super.

Aside from Game 1 when the Cajuns got three walks and a hit-batter against Chris Ellis and nine hits against Jeremy Massie, Ole Miss really pitched well against a solid offense.

The Rebels neutralized ULL’s best hitter, second baseman Jace Conrad, who was 1-for-12 in the series.

I know a little bit about the history of this program, and winning baseball isn’t a new thing in Lafayette.

However, I liked the matchup against a consensus No. 1 team and the No. 6 national seed because everybody’s good, so why not take your chances against a team that built most of its resume in the Sun Belt Conference.

There are solid mid-major programs who make it to Omaha has ULL did win it won a road super at South Carolina in 2000.

But many of the gaudy offensive numbers compiled by the Cajuns came against Sun Belt teams.

Lafayette has really good players, but most really good players looking to play in Louisiana aren’t looking to ULL first. That showed up in depth of pitching.

Cody Boutte, ULL’s third pitcher, got off to a good start, but when the Rebels got to him he went down fast.

For the series both teams had 27 hits. Ole Miss had 10 extra-base hits, and in Game 3 – depth of pitching – drew eight walks and was hit by a pitch three times. That’s 11 free bases that in essence turn your nine hits into 20 hits.
The free bases that plagued Ole Miss in Game 1 benefited it in Game 3. …

ULL’s Moore Field was a very good super regional atmosphere. The baseball tailgating is impressive.

I understand some level of upgrade to the 3,755-seat stadium is in the works, though I didn’t hear specifics.

They could develop some sort of outfield presence. There are towering pine trees beyond the outfield fences. Seems like you could work with those and create some sort of outfield seating which would also enhance atmosphere.

There are houses mixed in around those pines, and residents – hopefully residents and not trespassers – took to the rooftops to watch the games.

The fans were active, though they seemed a little more engaged for Game 3 than Game 2. When they all stood and sang all the verses to John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” it was really cool. …

Speaking of facility upgrades, south end zone work at Cajun Field is under way with suites and other things being added.

Our work room for the regional was in the sports information office which was adjacent to the football weight room. Heard some clanging of weights going on. The Cajuns play at Vaught-Hemingway this year on Sept. 13, Week 3. …

Off the field, good restaurants were abundant. It was nice to have the hotel across the street from the stadium. There were nice paved and lighted bike paths around the athletics facilities and bike lanes around the city. I was able to get in a lot of riding.

The campus has mostly red brick construction and lots of the big, old oak trees with branches at or near the ground. It’s a mile or less away from the stadiums.

I saw more hyphens on university property and apparel than I thought I would, though the stadium signage, public address comments and whatnot were all hyphen free in violation of state law.

I did see a campus building with “Southwestern” across the top of the entrance, a tribute to the school’s days as the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL). …

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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