LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette softball coach Michael Lotief had not pitched Jordan Wallace nor Christina Hamilton three straight days this season and he said deciding which way to go between the two seniors worried him.
“With Jordan being a power pitcher, it’s going to affect her more than Christina,” Lotief said. “You could tell in the bullpen that Jordan’s velocity was down and that she was laboring. It wasn’t so much her fingers, it was her legs. They weren’t under her. You could tell right from the beginning.”
Wallace, who came into Sunday 5-0 without giving up a single run this season, snapped that 38 1/3 scoreless innings streak by giving up a two-run home run in the first inning to McNeese’s Erika Piancastelli.
Lotief brought in Hamilton to start the second. Hamilton pitched four innings to get the Cajuns to 14-0 with an 11-3 win over the Cowgirls.
“Christina doesn’t have to rely on pure velocity for her ball to spin,” Lotief said. “What she did today was impressive. Her command was really good. About the fourth inning, she lost her legs. She did the rest of that on guts.”
Fortunately for the Cajuns, the Pincastelli homer only cut the Cajuns lead in half, as Cajuns hitters put up four runs in the top of the inning, including a leadoff home run by Haley Hayden and a two-run triple by Aleah Craighton.
“Our hitters responded today,” Lotief said. “I like the way they came out and set the tone from the beginning. We needed that today.”
The Cajuns lineup remained hot as Shellie Landry went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and Lexie Elkins blasted a three-run home run in the fifth inning that put the Cajuns up 11-2. Elkins said she is trying to focus more on her approach in order to get back to her 2014 form.
“I am just chasing pitches that I shouldn’t be chasing,” Elkins said, “but that’s part of the game. Everyone does it. I need to just continue to make the adjustments.”
Lotief said the perception that Elkins is off a little bit is accurate, however she’s still hitting .293 with six home runs.
“She’s squaring a lot of balls right now and they’re not jumping off her bat,” Lotief said. “Last year, when she squared, they jumped. We have some work to do, but for her to be off a little bit and still doing what she’s doing is pretty good.”
The Cajuns bring their No. 6 ranking and undefeated record to Tuscaloosa, Ala. next weekend for a showdown with No 3. Alabama.