Ragin’ Cajuns pitcher Christina Hamilton triumphant in return; Cajuns remain unbeaten _lowres

Advocate photo by LEE CELANO -- UL-Lafayette pitcher Christina Hamilton congratulates Leandra Maly after Maly scored a run against Hofstra in the sixth inning Saturday at Lamson Park.

LAFAYETTE — Christina Hamilton is back.

Saturday afternoon against Hofstra, the UL-Lafayette senior pitcher made her first start of the season — and Ragin’ Cajuns coach Mike Lotief said she was “the most effective I have seen her.”

Hamilton pitched five innings, striking out three and gave up zero runs in a 9-0 win over Hofstra. She said she wasn’t sure she’d get the ball Saturday but always prepares as if she will.

“Did I think I was going to pitch? No,” Hamilton said. “We all try to come out with the mindset that we’re going to get the ball. We prepare that way and go with the mentality that we are going out there to compete.”

Hamilton threw five huge innings in relief Friday against Iowa. After two weeks of inactivity, Hamilton said it didn’t surprise her that she pitched effectively again Saturday.

“We have been preparing to pitch more and getting more and more innings as we go along,” Hamilton said. “I get tired and sore. We all get tired and sore. That is just part of competing. I am not going to go out there and make an excuse. I am just going to dig deep and compete in that moment. I feel like I was prepared to go out there and pitch.”

Against Hofstra in the first half of Saturday’s doubleheader, Shellie Landry hit her sixth home run of the year off Hofstra pitcher Taylor Pirone.

Landry went 0-for-3 Friday against Pirone, and Lotief said Landry showed maturity in making the adjustment.

“The adjustment Shellie made ... was incredible,” Lotief said. “(Friday), the pitcher made her look bad. (Saturday), she made (Pirone) look bad. That is being mature enough to make an adjustment and execute. Both of those home runs were in clutch situations with the game on the line.”

Landry’s second home run came in the third inning of the second game against Missouri State, a two-run home run to give the Cajuns a 2-0 lead. Landry said her approach Saturday was “a lot different” than Friday.

“I was getting jammed in (Friday) and I couldn’t really see,” she said. “I owned up to that and changed my mindset and how I approached (Saturday). I was trusting my eyes. I saw all the pitches out.”

Jordan Wallace had another stellar outing against Missouri State, allowing only one hit and striking out 12 in the 5-0 shutout. Lotief said Hamilton and Wallace are both locked in mentally.

“Their motives have changed since they were younger,” Lotief said. “It’s about the competition and it’s not about them. It’s for the team and the fans. I have seen both of them mature to another level. They are locked in for the competition. That is what is all about for both of those kids.”