LAFAYETTE – Back home for the first time since before the Easter holiday, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Baseball team returns to action on Friday when it opens a three-game, Sun Belt Conference series against UT Arlington at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field at Russo Park.
 
First pitch for Friday’s opener is scheduled for 6 p.m., with Saturday’s contest set for 4 p.m. The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 1 p.m.
 
Prior to Friday’s opener, Louisiana will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ragin’ Cajuns 1972 Southland Conference Championship team with an on-field presentation along with ceremonial first pitch.
 
On Saturday, Our Lady of Lourdes will sponsor the annual “Strikeout for Stroke” with a special check presentation made at the conclusion of the game.
 
The traditional Mother’s Day First Pitch will occur prior to Sunday’s finale with mothers of Ragin’ Cajuns players throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to their sons.
 
Each Sunday is Family Day at Russo Park. Kids will be able to go onto the field for pre-game and line up with the team for the National Anthem. After the game, kids will be allowed on the field to run the bases.
 
All youth league players who wear their team jersey to Sunday’s game will be able to receive a group rated ticket for $6 in the bleacher sections. Tickets can be purchased at the Cajundome Ticket Office or Russo Park Ticket Office on gameday.
 
Louisiana (25-17, 14-7 SBC) went 5-2 on its recent seven-game roadtrip and returns home for the first time since taking two of three games from ULM on April 14-16. The Ragin’ Cajuns, currently three games behind league-leader Texas State and one game behind second-place Georgia Southern, won 13 of 17 games played last month while claiming their last six weekend series.
 
Four players – Carson Roccaforte (.369-12-52), Connor Kimple (.319-8-29), Tyler Robertson (.317-2-22) and Heath Hood (..315-3-23) – are hitting above .300 for Louisiana with Julian Brock (.297-5-24) coming off a month in which he hit .391.
 
Dating back to March 26 against South Alabama, Robertson has hit safely in his last 17 SBC games for the Ragin’ Cajuns, posting a .419 average (26-for-62) with nine doubles, a triple, 13 RBI and nine stolen bases during the span.
 
Louisiana, ranked second in the SBC in ERA (4.23), will send left-hander Brandon Talley (3-2, 3.76 ERA) to the mound in Friday’s opener with right-hander Jacob Schultz (2-3, 4.11 ERA) earning the start on Saturday. Right-hander Jeff Wilson (4-2, 3.95 ERA), the team leader in wins, innings pitched (57.0) and complete games (2), will start in Sunday’s finale.
 
UTA (14-31, 6-15 SBC), which will move to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) beginning this summer, is the most hit team in the Sun Belt Conference and 39th nationally this season, getting plunked 67 times. Zach Henry leads the team with 11 hit-by-pitches this season.
 
Over the month of April, Boone Montgomery rose his batting average by nearly 150 points. In the past 16 games, Montgomery has slashed .379/.438/.441 and has had seven multi-hit performances. He has reached bases in 12 of those games.
 
UTA has gotten off to hot starts in games this season, scoring over half of their runs in the first three innings.  Of the 203 total runs scored for UTA, 106 have come in the first three innings.
 
When out-hitting opponents this season, the Mavericks are 10-2. However, when the hits are equal for the opponent has more hits, the record falls to 4-29.
 
Over the past four games Matt Cavanagh has found his groove at the plate. The third baseman is hitting .444 across 18 at bats with 4 RBI and 4 runs scored.
 
UTA will send a trio of right-handers to the mound this weekend beginning with Friday starter Tanner King (2-4, 4.30 ERA). Michael Wong (1-4, 4.58 ERA) will start for the Mavs on Saturday with Cade Winquest (1-3, 5.74 ERA) earning the start on Sunday.