UL Softball Weekly Review (March 14)
The 5th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team is coming off of another perfect week, after sweeping a Sun Belt Conference doubleheader from the South Alabama Jaguars on Sunday at Lamson Park.
Louisiana was scheduled to play four games last week, but had a non-conference game against Longwood rained out, before having one game in the scheduled three-game set against South Alabama also cancelled.
That was certainly one of the negatives about last week, having two games, against teams that will likely win 30-35 games, cancelled.
Plus, that's two less games to watch the Cajuns play at Lamson Park.
But you can't control the weather, so you just roll with the punches and win the games that you get on the field to play, which is exactly what UL did.
In the doubleheader against South Alabama, Louisiana won the first game, 3-2, before scoring 8 runs in the bottom half of the 6th inning to win the second game, 10-6.
While South Alabama might be a little down this year, they're still South Alabama, a program that knows what it's like to play in big games, to win big games, and to play in NCAA Regionals.
So sweeping a double header from them shouldn't be taken lightly, especially the way the Cajuns did it, coming from behind in each game.
Trailing, 2-0, in the first game, UL got solo home runs from Lexie Elkins and Aleah Craighton in the bottom half of the 4th inning to tie it, before Shellie Landry drove home Kassidy Zeringue with an RBI single in the bottom of the 5th, to win it.
Alex Stewart, who ran her record to 9-0 on the season, showed some moxie, tossing shutout softball over the last 6 innings, after allowing two runs in the first.
It was a game Louisiana could have lost, but didn't. If you're going to have one of those special years, you have to win a few of those.
In the second game, the Cajuns, trailing, 6-2, in the bottom half of the 6th inning, put 8 runs on the board, before going on to win, 10-6.
Again, UL didn't play perfectly, either at the plate, in the circle, or in the field. But they found a way to win, and that says a lot about this team.
An example of that is sophomore pitcher Kylee Jo Trahan, who started the second game and faced only three hitters before being lifted.
Trahan reentered the game in the 6th inning however, threw two shutout innings, and got the win, her 7th of the season, against only one defeat.
Conference play is different. There are no secrets, and it's just hard to sweep a conference series, especially when you have a program the stature of Louisiana's, in which you are the target.
The Cajuns got challenged on Sunday, and they'll be challenged a few more times this year.
How many times they answer the challenge is going to go a long way in determining how successful of a season they will have.
Offensively, Craighton went 3-for-7, to go along with 2 homers and 4 runs batted in, while Elkins went 3-for-5, to go along with a homer and an RBI.
Crazy, but it really didn't feel like UL had a good weekend, offensively, and yet they scored 13 runs in two games against a program known for it's pitching.
That's pretty good!
Pitching-wise, Trahan, again, showed what she is made of by coming back and pitching well in a reentry role, while Stewart was the unsung hero of game two, pitching 5 solid innings of relief, keeping her team in the game, after throwing 7 tough innings in the opener.
So now, Louisiana has won 12-straight, and is 19-1, overall, and 2-0 in Sun Belt Conference play.
So far, it has been one incredible year!
But that's so far.
That's the thing about softball; it's a large sample-size sport, and there's a lot that can happen between now and June 1st.
That being said, I wouldn't bet against this group!
The Cajuns are scheduled to play four times this week, hosting McNeese St. in a non-conference affair on Wednesday night, before traveling to Arlington, Texas this weekend, to take on the UT-Arlington Mavericks, in a three-game, Sun Belt Conference series.
Louisiana will be tested, playing 15 of their next 19 on the road.
Understand, however, that the Cajuns have passed every test, so far,with flying colors.