LAFAYETTE – A season-opening 14-game homestand, visits from LSU and Tulane and hosting the Sun Belt Conference Tournament highlight the home portion of the 2013 Ragin' Cajuns baseball schedule which features a total of 33 regular season playing dates at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field. The schedule was announced on Saturday.
Louisiana will host eight weekend series at "The Tigue" starting with the season's first three weekends. The Cajuns leave the state of Louisiana only once through mid-March (three-game set at Southern Miss).
LSU's first visit to Lafayette since 2002 comes early, as the Cajuns and Tigers meet Feb. 26. Tulane's first appearance in Lafayette since the 2003 season is set for April 9. Those are the only meetings the Cajuns have set with the Tigers and Green Wave in 2013.
At the conclusion of the regular season, M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field and the Cajuns faithful fan base will be showcased to the entire Sun Belt Conference as the league holds its annual championship tournament at the facility for the fourth time and first since 2008. The event is set for Wednesday-Sunday, May 22-26, 2013.
"The great thing about the number of home games is it gives us an opportunity to reward our fans for their faithfulness by giving them more chances to see us play, and as players to be able to stay at home and play," head coach Tony Robichaux said. "The first series, a four-game weekend, is unique as it will be our first time playing a four-game series, which will be good because you want to play a lot early in the season.
"LSU will be coming to town this year which will be good for our fans plus hosting the conference tournament is going to be a big benefit for us," Robichaux added. "With the NCAA putting a greater point value on road games, it will be important for us to have success on the road being we have a smaller number this year."
The Ragin' Cajuns baseball team enters the 19th season under the direction of head coach Tony Robichaux in 2013. The campaign – and season-opening 14-game homestand – commences with a four-game series against Central Michigan Feb. 15-17.
The back end of the opening homestand is highlighted by LSU's visit. Following a third consecutive weekend at "The Tigue", with Sacred Heart University providing the opposition, the homestand concludes with a midweek meeting against former Sun Belt rival New Orleans on March 5.
Twenty-two days into the season, the Cajuns step outside the state of Louisiana for the first time opening a three-game series at Southern Miss on March 8. The Cajuns and Golden Eagles, continuing their annual home-and-home series, are meeting for the fifth straight season in a weekend set.
Following the USM series, the Cajuns have an entire week without midweek contests before opening Sun Belt Conference play at "The Tigue" March 15-17 with La.-Monroe. The Cajuns and Warhawks conclude the regular season at Warhawk Field in Monroe May 16-18 as part of the Sun Belt's league schedule which features teams playing a home-and-home series with the nearest geographical rival as part of the 30-game slate.
Adding in a midweek home game with Southern on March 19 following the La.-Monroe series, Louisiana is set to enjoy 18 of the season's first 21 games at the friendly confines of "The Tigue".
"Schedules are made two-to-three years in advance, right now we're working on the 2015 schedule," Robichaux remarked. "At the time we were preparing this schedule there was talk of stadium upgrades. Therefore we wanted to make sure we were a little heavier with home games because if we were to showcase potential improvements it would have been tough to do with a ton of road games."
The Cajuns' first venture into road play in Sun Belt Conference action features back-to-back weekends in the Nashville area. UL visits Middle Tennessee (March 22-24) and Western Kentucky (March 29-31) in consecutive weekends to wrap up March.
In other Sun Belt series at "The Tigue", Louisiana hosts Troy (April 5-7), Florida Atlantic (April 19-21), Arkansas State (May 3-5) and South Alabama (May 10-12).
Remaining Sun Belt road series include trips to UALR (April 12-April 14) and FIU (April 26-28) in addition to the season-ending trip to Monroe.
The non-conference slate features midweek, home-and-home matchups with Northwestern State, Nicholls State, Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State. The Cajuns travel to Houston to face the Cougars on April 30 in the non-conference finale.
The 2013 Sun Belt Conference Tournament will be held May 22-26 in the Cajuns back yard., as M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field serves as host of the event.
"At our fall meetings this year, it was unique to listen to other coaches in the league say that they're looking forward to coming here to play," Robichaux said. "The credit goes to our fan base. Teams that visit look forward to coming to Lafayette which also speaks volumes about our city.
"The atmosphere that we have here is truly unique and cannot be duplicated," Robichaux boasted. "So, to listen to all those coaches say they're glad that the tournament is here is a great testament to our fan base."
Fans are reminded that for Saturdays in February and March, games at "The Tigue" will begin at 2 p.m. In April and May, Saturday games are scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.
For all of the latest news and information on Ragin' Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow the athletics department on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/ULRaginCajuns along with @ULRaginCajuns on Twitter.
BASES NOTED: The Cajuns are entering their 42nd season as a Division I program (moved to DI in 1972)…M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field enters is 36th year of service to the UL baseball program…Head coach Tony Robichaux needs just six wins to reach 900 career victories (enters 2013 season with a career mark of 894-616-1)…Central Michigan and Sacred Heart University appear on the Cajuns schedule for the first time in program history…In LSU's last visit to "The Tigue" on March 19, 2002, Andy Gros hurled a complete game shutout in a 7-0 UL triumph…UL meets former Sun Belt foe New Orleans for the first time since the Privateers left the Sun Belt Conference following the 2010 season…The series with the Privateers was the most-played in school history at 146 meetings old until UL and McNeese met for the 147th time this past season on March 7…The season-opening 14-game homestand is the longest homestand for the Cajuns since the 1994 season began with a 13-game homestand (Feb. 18-March 6, 1994)…The school record for longest homestand is 29 games, set at the start of the 1989 season…In Tulane's last visit to "The Tigue" back on March 26, 2003, a Ryan Core walk-off home run gave the Cajuns a 9-8 victory…In Sun Belt play, Louisiana hosts Troy and Arkansas State and visits Middle Tennessee and UALR for the second straight season…Long-time rival South Alabama will be at "The Tigue" for Senior Weekend (May 10-12), marking the first time the Jaguars are in town for the final home weekend at "The Tigue" since 2003 (May 16-18, 2003) when the Cajuns and Jaguars were battling for the regular season SBC title…Previous Sun Belt Tournaments held at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field took place in 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2008…UL is 8-6 at "The Tigue" in SBC Tournament action…Louisiana is coming off a 23-30 season, only the fourth sub-.500 mark in 18 seasons under Tony Robichaux…Since coming off probation that Robichaux inherited when he took charge of the program, the Cajuns have never had back-to-back losing seasons under his guidance (1997-2012).