2021 UL Softball Preview: The Infielders
This is the third of a four-part Louisiana Ragin' Cajun 2021 softball preview.
Today; the infielders.
The infield, with depth and versatility, looks to be another strength for Louisiana this season.
There are a number of different directions the Cajuns could go at first base, but it looks as though freshman Taylor Roman will get the bulk of the time, at least early on.
Roman, who played right-field last season, hit .255 with two home runs and nine runs batted in over 22 games last season, including 18 as a starter.
Junior Carrie Boswell, who went 9-0 as a pitcher in 2019, is another option, after hitting .31 with two homers and nine RBI's in 2020.
Junior Bailey Curry, who has started games at first base in each of the last two seasons after transferring to UL from Toledo, could also see time there again but is expected to be more of a designated player and catcher this season.
Last season, Curry hit .191 with three homers and 12 RBI's after hitting .317 with 6 homers and 35 RBI's in 2019.
Junior Melissa Mayeaux is somebody who could be a super-utility player for the Cajuns this season, seeing action at numerous positions, including catcher.
A native of Louviers, France, Mayeux played baseball all her life before making the transition to softball three years ago, signing with Miami Dade College.
A shortstop on the French U-18 junior national team, Mayeux an impressive .439 with 6 homers and 59 runs batted in at Miami Dade in 2019.
Last season, her first at UL, Mayeaux hit .29 with four homers and 19 RBI's.
Mayeaux could also see time at catcher this season.
Kaitlyn Alderink, who came to Louisiana as a graduate transfer from Texas A&M, will likely see most of the action at second base.
A veteran of 205 career games, Alderink hit .364 as a freshman at Texas A&M in 2016, to go along with 41 runs batted in and 58 runs scored, which was good enough for her to earn SEC All-Freshman honors.
As a sophomore in 2017, Alderink hit .317 with 24 RBI's, 36 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases, as she earned Second-Team All-South Region accolades.
In 2018, as a junior, Alderink .270 with 20 RBI's and 37 runs scored.
A native of Keller, Texas, Alderink compiled a .963 career fielding percentage over her three seasons in College Station.
Last season, her first at UL, Alderink led the Cajuns in hitting, with a .364 average.
Alderink is coming off of a knee injury, however, so look for her to get a few games off, as the Cajuns will be careful with her, especially early on.
Senior Alyssa Dalton, the 2021 Preseason Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, is back at shortstop, but will likely also see time at third base this season.
Dalton, who is also an outstanding defender, led UL in hitting in 2019, with a .400 average, good enough for her to win 2019 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honors, before hitting .290 with ten RBI's last season.
Jade Gortarez should provide help immediately for Louisiana on the infield.
A starting shortstop at Arizona St., Gortarez was a two-time All-Pac 12 selection and chosen as the team's Defensive Player of the Year in her two seasons at Arizona State.
A native of Riverside, California, Gortarez began her collegiate career at Texas, prior to transferring to Arizona St.
Gortarez, who has one year of eligibility remaining with the Cajuns, hit .347, to go along with six home runs and .567 slugging percentage in 2018 at Arizona St.
Gortarez may eventually wind up as the UL third baseman, but expect to see her play shortstop as well, with Dalton playing third, especially early in the season.
Justice "Juice" Milz, a graduate transfer from Georgia, could see action at multiple positions for the Cajuns this year, including the infield.
A versatile player, Milz started games at first base, second base, and left-field during her four seasons at Georgia.
Last season, Milz appeared in 17 games for Georgia, including 12 as a starter at both first and second base, hitting .231 with one home run, nine runs batted in, and two stolen bases.
As a junior in 2019, Milz made 58 starts for the Bulldogs, making 20 at first base, 26 at second, seven in left field, and five as the designated player, while hitting .307, to go along with seven homers, 36 RBI's, and three stolen bases.
In 2018, as a sophomore, Milz put together her best season at Georgia, hitting .372 with 15 homers and 62 RBI's, while starting all 61 games at second base, good enough to be selected a second-team All-SEC performer.
As a freshman in 2017, Milz hit .333 over 33 games, all at second base, before suffering a season-ending injury.
A native of Kearney, Missouri, Milz attended Kearney High School, where she finished her prep career as the school's all-time batting average leader with a .418 mark, including .576 in 2013, as well as .500 in 2014.
Louisiana is high on its freshmen infielders, including Kyleigh Sand, a middle infielder from Norco High School in Chino, California, and Delaney Enlow, a power-hitting corner infielder from Woodford County High School in Versailles, Kentucky.
Brinson Rogers, a pitcher/infielder from Statesboro High School in Statesboro, Georgia and Sophie Piskos, a catcher/infielder from The Baylor School in Paris, Tennessee, also figure into the mix.
Like every other position, Louisiana is loaded with talent, depth, and experience on the infield, so every freshman is at least a candidate to be redshirted, as coach Gerry Glasco likes all of them, and would love to have them in a Cajun uniform for four years after this one, but it still remains to be seen how many are redshirted.
One thing is certain; the Cajuns are blessed with an infield that ranks as one of the best in the nation.
Lousiana opens its 2021 regular season schedule this Friday, taking on Missouri St. and Baylor in the first day of play in the 35th Louisiana Classics.
Last season, Louisiana was 18-6, ranked in everyone's top ten, and number one in the RPI poll when the season was shut down in mid-March due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
We'll never know how things would have played out, but it's almost certain UL would have hosted a regional for the first time since 2016, and very likely would have hosted a Super Regional for the first time since 2014.
Had this been the case, Louisiana would have headed to the NCAA Softball Tournament for the 22nd-consecutive year, while making an NCAA Regional appearance for the 30th time in the last 31 years.
The only year since 1990 in which UL failed to appear in a regional was 1998.
Louisiana is one of only 9 programs to appear in an NCAA Regional every year since 2000, joining Alabama, Arizona, Florida St., Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Washington.
Tomorrow: the outfielders.