Robichaux Announces 2016 Schedule

LAFAYETTE, La. – After facing the fourth toughest non-conference strength of schedule and reaching the NCAA Super Regionals for the second straight season a year ago, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns baseball team will face another challenging slate in 2016, head coach Tony Robichaux announced on Tuesday.

"Scheduling is not easy and coach Anthony Babineaux does a great job in handling the schedule for me," Robichaux said. "Iron shapens iron, and by playing good baseball programs that are used to winning and that have been in regionals, it gives us an opportunity to find out where we are.

"When you find out where you are, then you can work from that point on. But if you never find out where you are, you play weaker teams and think you are better than you are and stop preparing. I like having a tough strength of schedule because it weathers you and gets you prepared for down the stretch."

The Cajuns begin the 22nd season with Robichaux at the helm at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field against Sam Houston State on Feb. 19-21 in the first of two non-conference home series in 2016.

"We scheduled a three-game series against Sam Houston State with coach (David) Pierce, and with Matt (Deggs) now taking the job there, that will be a fun weekend," Robichaux said. "Playing Matt and Harvey (Lance Harvell) will be fun. We are going to have to be ready, because we know they will be ready."

Following a mid-week trip to Louisiana Tech for the first time since 2008, Louisiana will head to Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas for the 2016 Houston College Classic from Feb. 26-28. The Ragin' Cajuns will face TCU, Texas Tech and Rice in the tournament.

"Getting Louisiana Tech back on the schedule is good for us, and to be able to go Houston and put our players on a professional baseball field is huge," Robichaux added. "At the same time we get to play three very good teams in TCU, Texas Tech and Rice.

"We have so many Ragin' Cajuns fans in the Houston area. I feel like one of the reasons we were able to be successful at the Houston Regional was because we have so many Ragin' Cajuns fans in Houston."

Other notable non-conference matchups include a meeting with LSU in the Wally Pontiff Classic on March 22 at Zephyr Field and a trip to Southern Miss on April 26.

"We are happy to return to the Wally Pontiff Classic," Robichaux stated. "We have been fortunate with both programs where they are at and being able to draw a lot of people that night. There is no greater cause than raising money for the Wally Pontiff Foundation."

The Cajuns have six home-and-home matchups against in-state opponents on the 2016 schedule including Louisiana Tech, New Orleans, McNeese State, Northwestern State, Nicholls State and Tulane.

"I always like the home-and-home series because it gives you a chance to play at someone elses ballpark and then they get to come and play at your park." Robichaux said. "It helps us in the middle of the week because we don't have to go far off to play good teams.

"With coach Pierce being at Sam Houston State and facing us in the LSU regional a couple years ago and now taking over the program at Tulane it only makes sense for us to play each other. Tulane is going to be good this year, and anytime you can play good teams with good RPIs within two hours of our program that is huge for us."

Louisiana also has a non-conference series against Sacred Heart at "The Tigue" and a three-game set against Southeastern Louisiana that starts with a home game on April 15 followed by two games in Hammond, La. on April 16-17 to close out the series.

The Ragin' Cajuns open conference play on March 11-13 at Troy. Louisiana will also face Arkansas State (April 1-3), Georgia Southern (April 8-10), UT Arlington (April 29-May 1) and South Alabama (May 13-15) on the road in Sun Belt play.

Little Rock comes to town March 18-20 for the Sun Belt home opener at M.L. "Tigue" Moore Field. The Cajuns will also host Georgia State (March 24-26), Texas State (April 22-24), Appalachian State (May 6-8) and ULM (May 19-21) in conference action at "The Tigue".

"Our conference has always been a tough conference, even though we have lost good opponents in FAU, FIU, Middle Tennesse and Western Kentucky," Robichaux said. "We really want to upgrade the conference and make it a multiple bid league. We've got to continue to take care of our RPI and bring our best every weekend in conference play because its not going to be easy."

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