Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball team off to LSU for NCAA Tournament Baton Rouge Regional
Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, May 16, 2021
“But we’re going to go wherever they send us,” he said. “We’re going to show up.”
Glasco got his wish.
The No. 2 seed Cajuns (44-10) will open Friday (5:30 p.m., ESPN3) against No. 3 seed George Washington (37-9), the A-10 champs, at the double-elimination Regional in Baton Rouge.
Host LSU (32-19), the No. 1 Regional seed and the tournament's No. 7 overall seed, will open Friday (3 p.m., ESPNU) against McNeese (34-24)
It will be the 22nd straight Regional appearance for UL, which last advanced to a Super Regional when it lost its last two of three at Ole Miss in 2016. Here’s what to know about the No. 14 Cajuns going into the NCAA Tournament:
UL bats are hot
Four Cajuns – Alissa Dalton, Sophie Piskos, Bailey Curry and Melissa Mayeux – homered in the Sun Belt title game.
Designated player/pinch-hitter Curry went 4 for 8 with four RBIs in the tournament, and second baseman Jade Gortarez produced four RBIs Saturday. Shortstop Dalton, who recently missed a month following thumb surgery, is 4 for 5 at the plate in her last two games.
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Dalton, Curry and freshman catcher Piskos made the all-tournament team.
“It’s kind of awesome,” Dalton said. “No matter who they put in the game, one through nine, we know that they can get the job done.”
Cajuns pitching in place
Glasco likes how his staff, especially Ellyson and Aussie Kandra Lamb (16-4, 2.12), is shaping up for the weekend ahead.
“There’s probably things I could have done to get a little bit more out of the depth of our bullpen,” he said, “but definitely Ellyson was fresh and rested going into (Saturday), which was a key.
“As we go into Regional it’s do or die, and we have faith in Kendra Lamb, we have faith in the rest of our bullpen if we need to. But the key is to keep Summer where she can be ready and effective in the big moments.”
Cajuns get another shot
The 2020 NCAA Tournament didn’t take place due to COVID-19. But UL was No. 1 in national RPI rankings when the season was cut short by the pandemic.
“It’s been a hard year with so many things – the COVID testing, bringing in and playing with transfers from all over the country and players coming from different parts of the country trying to understand a coach from small-town Southern Illinois,” Glasco said.
The Cajuns are stacked with transfers from other NCAA Division I programs, including six who’ve been to the Women’s College World Series: Gortarez (Arizona State), Kaitlyn Alderink (Texas A&M), Ciara Bryan and Justice Milz (Georgia) and Jenna Kean and Vanessa Foreman (Arizona).
Bryan was named 2021 Sun Belt Player and Newcomer of the Year. Four Cajuns were first team All-Sun Belt picks: Bryan, Ellyson, Lamb and Kendall Talley.
Loaded with confidence
The Cajuns haven’t hosted a Regional since 2016, but they’ve appeared in one in every NCAA Tournament held since 1999.
They open this one loaded with confidence.
“This is a talented team,” Glasco said, “and they’re determined, and I like the mindset that they’re in right now.”