The 2007-08 ULM Warhawks captured their first baseball regular season conference title last night and they did it without playing a conference game. It was night of up and down emotions as ULM dropped a 8-3 decision to Creighton in Rosenblatt Stadium but later celebrated as champions in the nations 9th ranked conference.
In state rival Louisiana-Lafayette defeated New Orleans for the second straight night eliminating the Privateers from the title race. ULM (20-10 Sun Belt) takes the title and will hold the #1 seed in next weeks Sun Belt tournament. The tournament will be held in Lafayette at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field, home of the Cajuns.
The Warhawks started the 06-07 campaign strong bolting out to a 9-1 conference record but faded down the stretch. This year ULM did it with their bats out slugging opponents (team .323 batting average) and got just enough pitching to hold teams down. ULM blew past last years record setting home run mark and have set the new bar at 89 long balls and counting. Seniors Dexter Fontenot (11), Kyle Suire (15), and Junior Ben Soignier (16) lead the Warhawks in the home run catergory.
"You know its all about these players", said ULM pitching coach Dax Leone. Down the stretch we dropped a couple of games and thats when you find out the true character of your team. ULM has always been a very good baseball program, the tradition has always been there. This season we just went back to doing the little things right and getting guys in here that believe in ULM baseball".
"We need to keep on getting players that want to be here. Low maintenance dirt bag players that win or lose, they play the same way each game. We know we can win on this level and we have proved it. Coach Shake has a passion for ULM baseball and he has done an incredible job for this program".
The Warhawks have come a long way since joining the Sun Belt Conference last year. Coach Jeff Schexnaider, hitting coach Mike Trahan, and pitching coach Dax Leone have done a great job of getting their players prepared for battle each and every game and should be praised for their efforts.
"I knew this group was special and they work real hard as a team", Coach Schexnaider said. To get rewarded with a Sun Belt championship is just an awesome feeling for those guys. With one game left in the Sun Belt this weekend, we had the most wins and got the #1 seed in the tournament and thats something we are proud of".
"Playing in Rosenblatt stadium was awesome for these guys, they were excited. I tell you, its a huge park, we hit some shots that were against the wall or on the warning track that didn't get out of there. I am proud of the way our guys battled back today and took the last game, give us some momentum going into the tournament this next week".
ULM will take on the #8 seed Middle Tennessee this Wednesday with the start time still to be determined. The Warhawks swept the Blue Raiders during the regular season match up at Warhawk Field. ULM fans are encouraged to make the short trip down south to support their 2007-08 Sun Belt champions and rout them on to a tournament championship and a birth in the NCAA playoffs.