LAFAYETTE — Kelsey Vincent’s home run over the trees in centerfield Sunday was one of four Louisiana-Lafayette home runs in the first two innings as they cruised to an 11-1 win over Central Arkansas at Lamson Park.
Vincent said the home run felt pretty good, but the most important thing was coming out Sunday and picking up the win after a grueling three-game series with Oregon on Friday and Saturday.
“We try to approach every game the exact same,” Vincent said. “We try to play against ourselves and not the other team. It’s a game against the ball and not the other team. We never want to play down to an opponent.
“We have been working all week, and we made adjustments, and we knew we just needed to come out and get the win today.”
Ragin’ Cajuns coach Michael Lotief said Vincent’s sentiment echoes the mindset he tries to create with his team, though it may not be easy to get through.
“The mindset we try to create with this team is that no one game is more important than the other,” Lotief said. “In the grand scheme, they all have the same balance. For teams that are up and down mentally, this could have been a trap. We could have had a mental letdown, but I think this game was a testament to this team’s mental focus and their resolve to play every game as hard as you can.”
Kylee Jo Trahan earned her second win of the season, pitching 3.2 innings and striking out eight. Macey Smith and Alison Deville also saw action in the circle, and Lotief said he is pleased with how his young pitchers are rising to the challenge early in the season.
“We have a good staff,” he said. “Those kids have worked hard. They haven’t been just sitting in the dugout keeping charts. Monday through Friday, we get after it.
“These girls have thrown about 60 games (in practice) against some of the best hitters in the country. And they have to try to figure out how to get them out. We aren’t going to overpower people, but as these kids gain more confidence and gain the trust of their teammates, they’re going to be very good.”
Haley Hayden led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run, her first of the year. Aleah Craighton then added a two-run blast in the first inning to open a 3-0 lead early.
Vincent hit her third of the season, and Lexie Elkins added her eighth home run of the year, in a seven-run second inning for the Cajuns, which put them up 10-0.
Vincent, who went 3-for-3, said it felt good to trust the preparation and get rewarded with a home run. She said the hard work they’ve put in is beginning to pay off.
“I have to credit my teammates,” Vincent said. “They’re out here pushing me to be better every day. We just try to do our best to trust our preparation and prepare hard for every game.”