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UL-Lafayette's Kassidy Zeringue crosses the plate during a game against Baylor in 2015.

Advocate file photo by Lee Celano

LAFAYETTE — Kassidy Zeringue made a difficult play look easy, and for that, she got herself on "SportsCenter."

In the bottom of the fifth inning against Texas State last Sunday, the Louisiana-Lafayette second baseman sprinted toward the right-field foul line, then stretched out for a diving catch.

Zeringue not only caught a fading pop fly for the third out, she hung on to it while she bounced hard off the ground.

“We were throwing to the outside of the hitter,” Zeringue said of how she approached that play. “I knew it would be to my left and down the line some. I remember thinking that I had to just get it over and get it done. I think I might have had springs in my feet.”

For her effort and execution, the 5-foot-4 senior found herself on ESPN. Her diving grab earned the No. 7 spot on that night’s top 10 plays.

“Someone from ESPN messaged me on Twitter after we had gotten on the bus and asked if they could use the highlight,” Zeringue said. “I didn’t know what to do so I handed it over to Matt (Hebert, the team's sports information director), and he handled it.”

The news quickly spread throughout the team bus and her teammates ribbed her a little when the play was not featured on the early evening edition of "SportsCenter," but it was featured later that night, then multiple times afterwards across social media platforms.

“It was pretty cool to be on 'SportsCenter,' ” Zeringue said. “And it has been played all the time on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t get me wrong; it is cool, but there were a lot of great plays made in that game by teammates that should have been on there too. I just made one play.”

If it weren't for a chance encounter with Ragin’ Cajuns softball coach Mike Lotief, Zeringue may have never made that highlight play — or, for that matter, any play. 

Zeringue was multiple-sport athlete at Lutcher High School, earning all-state honors in swimming, softball and soccer, where she set school records in goals in a season (62 as a junior) and goals in a career (145).

Even though she was a talented shortstop who stole 117 bases her junior and senior seasons, Zeringue had no intention of playing softball on the collegiate level. 

“I always had been good at softball, but my passion growing up was soccer,” Zeringue said. “I had played softball since I was 4 years old, but then I discovered soccer and got good at it pretty fast. After that, my main focus in high school was to do everything I could to earn myself a soccer scholarship.”

Zeringue achieved her goal as she accepted a soccer scholarship from Louisiana-Lafayette. Zeringue played sparingly her freshman season in 2013, but sharing a few laughs with Lotief, that season changed her athletic future at the university.

“I saw coach Mike inside the practice facility one day and he made a joke about me coming out to play a real sport,” Zeringue remembered. “We both laughed and didn’t think anything of it, but then I went out one day and watched them practice, and everything kind of changed.”

Zeringue was so impressed with what she saw with the Ragin’ Cajuns softball team, she opted to give up her athletic scholarship for soccer, pick up a part-time job at the university rec center to help pay for tuition, and then walked on to the softball team.

“At the time, I thought it would have been a tough decision because I had been so focused on soccer for so long,” Zeringue said. “But once I got out there with the team and saw what coach and the program was all about — I knew that I couldn’t have gone back to soccer.”

After seeing action as a bench player and spot starter her first two seasons, Zeringue became a full-time starter last year as the Cajuns right fielder. This season, Zeringue moved from the outfield to second base, and the slap-hitting specialist is third on the team in batting average (.387). She leads the team with nine stolen bases. 

Zeringue and the rest of the Cajuns return to action this weekend as Louisiana-Lafayette (33-6, 14-1 Sun Belt) hosts Georgia State in three-game series at Lamson Park starting with a 2 p.m. Saturday doubleheader. 

Zeringue, who has also made Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s List three times for academics, states that making a play like the one she did in San Marcos last weekend holds even more meaning because she did it while playing for the Ragin’ Cajuns.

“You dream about making a big play in a game,” Zeringue said. “For me though to be part of a program like this one that is so successful is what is really special.”