UL Softball: Week In Review
The second weekend of the 2014 college softball season was a successful one for Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns, going 4-1 in the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational over the weekend.
Anytime you go 4-1 in a tournament, with a split against a top ten team like Michigan, you take it.
In the tournament at Lamson Park, Louisiana collected wins over Michigan (8-6), Valparaiso (3-2), Memphis (13-2), and Central Arkansas (5-0), while suffering their only loss to Michigan (15-1).
Yeah, the Michigan game got away from them, but they also defeated the Wolverines, and showed toughness doing it, hanging on to win when Michigan brought the tying run to the plate in the last inning.
Add in the three other wins, and you can’t be anything but happy.
Junior right-hander Jordan Wallace returned to the circle, after an injury scare a week ago. The All-American candidate recorded the win against Michigan on Friday, allowing only one earned run, and then pitched a two-hit, complete game shutout against Central Arkansas on Sunday.
For the weekend, Wallace tossed 14 innings, allowing only one earned run, while striking out 15.
Yes, you can exhale now!
Christina Hamilton continues to provide quality innings as well. The junior right-hander picked-up victories against Valparaiso and Memphis, allowing only seven hits and two earned runs in 13 innings of work.
The most promising thing, to me, is that Hamilton pitched well in back-to-back games.
It’s very simple; if Hamilton pitches the way she did over the weekend, and the way she did in the North Carolina game the previous weekend, Louisiana is going to be really good.
Wallace is as good as anybody, and we all know they’re going to hit. If Hamilton proves to be all the way back…look out!
Offensively, the Cajuns hit 13 home runs over the week, and now have 20 long balls for the season.
How good is that? Well, Memphis, who was in town for the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational over the weekend, had eight all of last year.
Not only that, but UL has 20 homers in ten games and Shellie Landry hasn’t even hit one out yet.
Freshman outfielder Haley Hayden was 6-of-16 over the weekend, along with four home runs, and nine RBI’s. The West Monroe product has a slugging percentage of .757, which is impressive, but even more impressive is her approach at the plate. She’s comfortable, confident, and most importantly, productive.
Senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez continues to get on base. Her on-base percentage is now at .525, and she’s really setting the table for the likes of Hayden, Lexie Elkins, and Shelbi Redfearn. The Cajuns are scoring a lot because Fernandez is getting on a lot.
Louisiana has now scored 63 runs over ten games, and they’ve done that playing against the likes of Texas, twice, Michigan, twice, and North Carolina.
Are they going to average six runs a game the entire year? No, but this offense is REALLY good! But you wouldn’t expect otherwise for a Michael Lotief coached team, would you?
Defensively, the Cajuns made 14 errors in the five game over the weekend, and that’s just too many.
In the final game on Sunday there were some familiar faces out there, just in different places, with Kelsey Vincent moving back to first base, where she played last year, Redfearn moving to the outfield, where she has played her entire career, and Samantha Walsh moving to third base.
Those players looked real comfortable at those spots on Sunday, and I would expect the same alignment next weekend.
While good, we all expected this team to be a work in progress, and it likes like they’re progressing nicely, thank you very much.
Louisiana now hits the road for the first time this year, as they head to the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida this weekend.
No doubt, they’ll be tested, but if they well as well as they did last weekend, they’re going to make life in the Florida sun very difficult for their five opponents.