MOBILE, Ala. — Louisiana-Lafayette’s Kelsey Vincent said after last weekend’s Alabama series, the Ragin’ Cajuns softball team decided to just work even harder and get even better.
Vincent hit the team’s first home run of the season, but hadn’t had one since. Saturday against South Alabama, she went 5-for-8 with 3 RBIs and her second home run of the season as the Cajuns swept a doubleheader from the Jaguars with 3-2 and 9-3 wins.
“After I hit the first one (of the season) and I hadn’t hit one for a while, I was like, ‘I’ll just be a singles hitter this year.’ I wasn’t really planning on it and I wasn’t trying to hit one. It just kinda happened.”
Cajuns coach Mike Lotief said he thought the team’s effort in the conference opening series was great. Lotief said getting production from several key players, including Lenadra Maly, who was 5-of-6 with an RBI, was promising.
“A lot of kids had some quality at bats and did somethings that we asked them to do,” Lotief said. “The emotions were there on both sides. The kids in our dugout that haven’t experienced what conference play is all about now know. They know us; we know them. You just have to go out and make more plays than they do.”
Lotief said Vincent specifically was down and out after the Alabama series. Vincent came into Saturday’s game on an 0-for-7 slump, hitless against the Crimson Tide. Lotief said Vincent came in, worked hard all week and it paid off Saturday.
“She has the ability to do that every weekend,” Lotief said. “Hitting is hard and very difficult and you can’t take a small sample size and label a kid. She is evolving as a hitter and sometimes the evolution is seven or eight years. That kid has evolved every year and she keeps getting better.”
Vincent got the Cajuns going in the third inning of game one with a double to the wall, scoring Shellie Landry from second base, putting the Cajuns up 1-0. She then singled in the fifth to score another run, making it 3-0 Cajuns.
Jordan Wallace pitched the first game allowing two runs and striking out eight. Christina Hamilton pitched game two, allowing three runs with one strikeout. Hamilton ended the game with 117 pitches, her previous season high was 79.
“(South Alabama) knows Christina,” Lotief said. “This team saw her last year five times. They have video on her. When you get in a conference series and the foe is familiar you, you expect their preparation to be better.”
Vincent’s home run came in the fifth inning of game two, a solo shot to leadoff the inning. She said opening up the conference season with two wins is great, but she said she knows every team will bring their best against the Cajuns
“It’s a whole new season once conference starts,” Vincent said. “I think we have to come out and play every single game and play like the opponent is the No. 1 team in the nation. I think that is how we came out and played today.”