LAFAYETTE — After relying on the long ball Friday night, the Louisiana-Lafayette softball squad took a longer path to success Saturday.
The Ragin’ Cajuns completed a series sweep of UT-Arlington by taking both games of a doubleheader at Lamson Park, 4-1 and 8-0.
A day after the Cajuns (20-3, 5-1 Sun Belt Conference) hit six homers in the series opener, they collected 12 hits in two games with none leaving the yard. Instead, a two-run single in the top of the fourth from pinch-hitter Sara Corbello gave the Cajuns some breathing room in the second game. It was Corbello’s first hit of the season in 10 at-bats.
“Sara has had some good at-bats where she extended (opposing) pitchers,” Cajuns coach Michael Lotief said. “She plays a role that we ask her to play. That is part of doing what you have to do to make a good team great.”
The Cajuns pushed their lead to 4-0 by pulling off a double steal later in the inning that scored DJ Sanders.
A couple of innings later, the Cajuns closed out the win by registering four more runs in the sixth.
One of those came on another double steal. Haley Hayden came home to make it 7-0 before cleanup hitter Samantha Walsh sent an RBI single to center that scored pinch-runner Kendall Smith to end the game by the mercy rule.
“Our first and third offense is important, and it’s something we work on in the fall,” Lotief said. “It is high risk and high reward, and it puts a lot of pressure on the defense. We got a couple of cheap runs, which gives you some separation.”
Christina Hamilton was the beneficiary of those runs. She allowed two hits, walked four and struck out six in running her record to 5-1.
In the first game, the Cajuns forced UT-Arlington starting pitcher Kayla Donaldson to throw 45 pitches to get through the first. That heavy workload for the Mavs hurler produced three runs on one hit. The Cajuns put up their runs on a sacrifice fly from Walsh, a hit batter and a bases-loaded walk.
The Mavericks (4-13, 0-3) went hitless during the first four frames until catcher Casey Everett stroked a liner to left with one out in the fifth to put runners at first and second. Leadoff hitter Sandra Mendoza walked to load the bases before Britnea Barilli drove in the Mavs’ lone run via a walk. Jordan Wallace steadied herself and struck out Nina Villanueva to end the Mavericks’ best threat. That inning-ending strikeout was one of 16 by Wallace, which equaled her season high. “Just throwing three innings last night (in an 18-0 win) probably helped,” Wallace said. “Sometimes, I have struggled on that second day — but my legs were fresher.”
The Cajuns will have a short turnaround before their next conference series as they host Georgia Southern on Monday at 6 p.m. to kick off a three-game set.