LAFAYETTE — The biggest pitching present that Kylee Jo Trahan has received in the past two years is her presence.
That’s one tool that helped Trahan notch a no-hitter for the Louisiana-Lafayette softball squad Friday in the opening contest of the Ragin’ Cajuns Invitational at Lamson Park.
“Her (mound) presence was obviously a major difference,” coach Mike Lotief said. “Her stuff has always been good, but she had total control of that game.”
Control and a 10-hit attack contributed to the Cajuns’ 12-0 victory over Rutgers. Trahan struck out 10 and walked a pair.
“I felt like I had more control, and I was more confident with new things,” Trahan said. “I did better with my changeup.”
The Cajuns (11-1) got a jump on the Scarlet Knights with a six-run first inning that included a pair of home runs. After leadoff hitter Haley Hayden reached on a walk, catcher Lexie Elkins launched her 10th homer of the season to make the score 2-0. Kelsey Vincent followed with a solo homer down the left-field line to push the lead to three.
“Kelsey is locked in and is trusting herself,” Lotief said. “She is underrated ... a leader and a good teammate.”
That long ball was the beginning of a 3-for-3 day for Vincent. She finished with four RBIs. Third baseman Kara Gremillion finished the rally in the opening inning by lining a single to center that eluded Rutgers’ Adriana Burcar. As the ball rolled toward the fence, Aleah Craighton, DJ Sanders and Sara Corbello all came home.
Lotief said the focus shown by the Cajuns on offense and defense is something that needs to be carried over with consistency.
“I’m hoping they can do it every pitch,” he said. “It’s got to be every pitch. That has to be your intensity.”
As Trahan kept the Scarlet Knights off the basepaths, Vincent accounted for a few more runs by spraying the ball to both right and center for a couple of singles. The first single in the second inning scored pinch runner Kelli Martinez. Vincent knocked in two more in the third.
“(Vincent) is so strong,” Lotief said. “She check-swung the ball out of the park on a swing. That’s crazy.”
Trahan tied her career high in strikeouts when she reached double digits in the fifth inning. Trahan struck out Alexandra Yoffee for the next-to-last out. Trahan closed the game by coaxing Carly Todd to fly out to left field.
“I didn’t really think about a no-hitter until people told me about it after the game,” Trahan said. “Mentally, I feel different. Last year, it was ‘Oh my goodness.’ Now it’s home for me.”
The Cajuns continue play in the tournament Saturday when they take on Rutgers (1-9) at 1:30 p.m. and Alcorn State (4-6) at 4 p.m.