LAFAYETTE — With the outcomes never in doubt — Louisiana-Lafayette swept its doubleheader with Georgia State Saturday 10-2 and 8-0 — associate head coach T.J. Hubbard said it was important to get the pitchers work.
In the first game, Alex Stewart made her fourth consecutive start for the Ragin’ Cajuns (30-5, 15-3) and pitched five innings, striking out 10. In the second game, Jordan Wallace and Christina Hamilton combined for no runs and seven strikeouts as the Cajuns completed the series sweep of the Panthers (23-15, 5-7).
“All three kids had complete control of the game from start to finish,” Hubbard said. “We had zero walks in the three games. Most of the decisions were made with how the offense was cruising and what they were doing. In the fifth inning (of the first game), we felt comfortable with where we were, and we wanted to see Jordan get in there.”
The Cajuns scored in every inning of the first game, putting up three in the first inning on a three-run home run by Lexie Elkins, whose hot streak continues. After having 11 home runs and 27 RBIs in March, she kicked off April by going 5-for-9 with two home runs and eight RBIs in this series.
The Cajuns capitalized on some Georgia State mental mistakes. The Panthers only had one charged error in the first game, but right fielder Megan Litumbe tripped on a routine fly ball, allowing Haley Hayden to get a triple — and even Elkins’ home run bounced out of center fielder Ashley Christy’s glove.
“From the beginning of this year, they can see a weakness or see an opportunity to jump on the other team,” Hubbard said. “When the other team makes mistakes, we make them pay for it. If they boot a ball or misplay a ball, we score on it.
“That is what we are going to need down the stretch. A lot of the teams at the end aren’t going to give you many, but we need to continue to take advantage of them.”
Kelsey Vincent was 2-for-3 in the second game, but no hit was bigger than her grand slam in the first inning. Vincent, too, has been hot since conference play began, and she said she’s seeing the ball a little more clearly now.
“I’ve been having the same approach all season long,” Vincent said. “We are working better as a team and we are working better together to get hits when the rest of your team is getting hits.”
Hubbard said Vincent is attacking the right pitches and she’s in a good place mentally. He said he hopes the Cajuns can keep Vincent’s momentum going.
As for the absence of coach Michael Lotief in the three-game series, not a whole lot changes, Hubbard says. They miss Lotief’s emotional leadership, but Hubbard said Lotief still has his hand on the pulse of the program.
“The system that coach Lotief has set up works,” Hubbard said. “He is still in control of this team and we are still going off the normal protocol. All of the coaches get to talk to him via text message or see him in person. I know he is communicating with some of the kids individually.
“His presence is still here even though he is not here. It is a great peace for the kids to have. He keeps them locked in, and I felt like they were locked in from beginning to end.”