LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana-Lafayette softball team’s claim to fame the last couple years has been the prolific rate it hits balls out of the ball park, which made last weekend’s three-homer performance refreshing.
The Cajuns swept a Sunday doubleheader against Sun Belt rival South Alabama, and they needed to pull out all the tools from their bag to do so.
“We weren’t going to hit a home run to win the game, we had to pass the bat from person to person throughout the lineup in order to win,” said senior left fielder Shellie Landry.
The Cajuns used the home run to rally from a 2-0 deficit in the first game of the doubleheader, getting a pair of fourth-inning homers to tie the game before Landry’s RBI single plated the winning run in the fifth.
But it was the nightcap that the Cajuns are going to think back on.
Trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the normally big-bopping club went station-to-station to storm back in front.
A single and a pair of walks loaded the bases. A Haley Hayden single scored one. A Landry single scored two more, then another crossed on a throwing error to tie the game. After a Lexie Elkins walk, the fourth single of the inning plated the go-ahead run.
It was only then, after the Cajuns took the lead, that they hit their first homer of the game, a three-run shot by Aleah Craighton that pushed the Cajuns up by four.
This was a positive sign for the Cajuns, who had a well-timed discussion after a Southern Miss series where they hit 12 home runs about how the big fly was not always going to be there.
“After we got back from Southern Miss, we talked about how we can’t win every game with the home run,” Landry said. “We had to figure out how to do it without the long ball, and we proved this weekend that we can do that. We’ve got to find holes in the field.”
The Cajuns aren’t likely to stop hitting home runs. They’ve got Elkins, who is leading the NCAA with 15 bombs this season, and the team is currently leading the NCAA in home runs per game.
But now the team knows that, on days where the ball doesn’t leave the park, it can still get the job done.
“When games are like they have been early in the season, you can kind of forget about the little things,” said assistant coach Chris Malveaux. “It’s good going forward that if it isn’t happening, there are other ways to win.”