Rewatching Louisiana-Lafayette in the 2000 College World Series
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy are joined by Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns assistant coach Anthony Babineaux to discuss his team's run to the 2000 College World Series.
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In many ways, it was an underdog story. It was the first and still only trip to Omaha for ULL (now known simply as UL), and they were embraced by many as a plucky upstart program wreaking havoc on the big names in college baseball.
And while coming out of the Sun Belt Conference as a first-time CWS team made that true to some degree, it was not an accident that this team got to that point. The Cajuns nearly got there the year before, when they won the opening game of the Houston Super Regional in the Astrodome against Rice before dropping the final two games.
The path through a super regional was even tougher in 2000, as the Cajuns were sent to Columbia, South Carolina, to take on No. 1 overall seed South Carolina, where they flipped the script by losing the first game of the weekend before winning the final two.
Once in Omaha, they further proved it was no fluke. After a close loss to Stanford, which would go on to reach the national title game against Louisiana State, they won elimination games against San Jose State and Clemson before falling again to Stanford.
Twenty years later, whether it was the bleach blonde hair of all the players, an exciting style of play or that the college baseball world was eager to embrace the new kid in town, the 2000 Ragin' Cajuns are a team still remembered quite fondly.
Among the topics discussed with Babineaux are:
- How falling just short of Omaha in 1999 served as a springboard into the 2000 season
- What it was like to play a super regional in the Astrodome, especially with a team full of players from the Houston area
- What the atmosphere was like at home when they hosted in 2000
- The story behind all the players dying their hair blonde
- How well he remembers the final out of the Columbia Super Regional
- How well supported the team was in Omaha by locals as much as their own fans
- Why this team has captured the imagination of so many, nearly 20 years later
- How meaningful it is to have this CWS appearance as a celebration of what the late Tony Robichaux built in Lafayette