LAFAYETTE — A Louisiana-Lafayette softball season that yielded a team record in home runs got a big boost from a pair of double plays.
The Ragin’ Cajuns’ 2-0 lead on Baylor in Sunday night’s win-or-go-home NCAA tournament Lafayette regional finale was being threatened by a Bears rally when left fielder Shellie Landry ended all of that.
Baylor had runners at second and third with one out when No. 3 hitter Ari Hawkins sent a fly ball to Landry, who swiftly to catcher Lexie Elkins to cut down Baylor’s Robin Landrith at the plate.
“We practice it all the time. Every time the ball comes to me in the air and I see the runners tagging up, it’s a good feeling ... like I hit a home run kind of feeling,” Landry said. “Every time the runner is tagging up, I know I am going to make that play.”
The second twin killing came in the top of the fifth. Cajuns pitcher Jordan Wallace got Baylor cleanup hitter Shelby Friudenberg to hit a comebacker to the mound, which resulted in a 1-2-3 rally-ender.
“I was just trying to throw strikes,” Wallace said. “It just kind of happened.”
Cajuns coach Mike Lotief had little doubt about the significance of those two moments.
“Those two plays were huge and turned the momentum of the game,” he said.
Martinez makes her mark
From the No. 9 spot in the lineup, Kelli Martinez helped the Cajuns maintain front-runner status on the way to the super regional round.
Martinez ended Baylor’s half of the first inning by racing in to make a sliding catch in shallow center. She also drove in the Cajuns’ second run of the second inning with a ground out.
“Defensively, Kelli has been solid all year,” Lotief said. “Her speed and athleticism have been shown the whole year. For a true freshman to shine on this stage is good.”
The record holder
Elkins hit her 31st home run to set the single-season school record previously held by Danyele Gomez (2006).
“The kid who she is passing — Gomez — is special in my heart,” Lotief said. “That kid is special for this program and special to me. For Lexie to get that number, that shows how special she is.”