UL Softball Weekly Review – March 27
The 20th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team was successful in their 2017 road opener(s) over the weekend, sweeping a three-game set from the South Alabama Jaguars in Mobile, Alabama.
Louisiana won the first game, 8-3, before capturing the second game, 4-2, prior to completing the sweep in the third game, 9-4.
The Cajuns, who have now won 12-consecutive conference games, while running their Sun Belt Conference series win streak to 31, dating back to 2013, improved to 23-5, overall, and 6-0 in league play.
The first thing that comes to mind from the weekend is that Louisiana hit the ball. They outscored South Alabama, 21-9, while smashing 6 home runs.
Keep in mind, South Alabama had only allowed 8 home runs entering the weekend.
Also keep in mind, South Alabama was 15-1 at home heading into the weekend.
The top part of the order produced for Louisiana, with Kara Gremillion, Hayley Hayden, and Aleah Craighton going 11-for-27, combined, to go along with two doubles, a homer, 8 runs scored, and 7 runs batted in.
You can’t expect the top three in any batting order to put up those kind of numbers every weekend, it was the second -straight weekend those three young ladies produced, and when they do, Louisiana is really difficult to beat.
DJ Sanders now has 16 homers and 37 RBI’s, after another big weekend, in which she crushed three homers, including a grand slam, while driving in 7 runs. She's on pace to hit between 25-30 home runs this season.
Lexie Comeaux just continues to improve. The sophomore went 3-for-8 over the weekend, with some really good at-bats.
There still needs to be more consistency, from top to bottom in the order, but the offense has shown improvement in two-consecutive weeks.
Again, the Cajuns averaged about 7 runs-per-game. The game of softball just wasn’t designed for that much offense, especially against a South Alabama team that features two outstanding arms, in Devin Brown and Destin Vicknair.
I also liked the fact that the Cajuns were tested in the final game. They scored the first five runs, before giving up 4-unanswered runs, prior to putting the game away in the 6th inning. This team has displayed intestinal fortitude all season. They don’t always play perfect softball, but they’re always scrappy.
Pitching-wise, Alex Stewart was as impressive as she's been all year. She recorded two wins, while allowing only 2 runs in 10 innings of work. The thing about Stewart this weekend however is that she didn't allow one walk, while striking out 14, and she looked good pitching in back-to-back days.
Stewart has been good this year, but this weekend reminded me of the 2016 edition of Alex Stewart. You know, the All-American version.
Like the offense, I’d like to see more consistent pitching, but I certainly wouldn’t trade Stewart and Alyssa Denham for any other tandem in the conference.
Defensively, Louisiana made three errors, and also threw to the wrong base a couple of times. Just like with the offense and defense, it’s all a matter of developing consistency.
All in all, it was a terrific weekend. Again, South Alabama had only lost once in 16 games at home, while Louisiana was on the road for the first time this year.
Anytime you sweep a conference series, especially on the road, against a quality team like South Alabama, it’s an accomplishment.
This team has taken big strides over the last two weeks. Now, let's hope it continues.
Next weekend, the Cajuns make the trip to Statesboro, Georgia to take on Georgia Southern, a team that the defeated twice in three road games last season.
If Louisiana continues to make strides, the rest of the conference had better watch out!