LAFAYETTE — Engaging in a slugfest with Arizona is not what Louisiana-Lafayette softball coach Michael Lotief would call an optimum situation for his team during this weekend’s NCAA tournament super regional.
The Cajuns and Arizona have two of the nation’s top offenses, combining for 191 home runs and 814 runs. They’ll learn how their talented hitters match up with one another when the best-of-three super regional begins at 8 p.m. Friday at Lamson Park. The teams will meet again at 2 p.m. Saturday, with a third game to follow if necessary.
Arizona is playing in its ninth super regional. The Cajuns are in their fifth since 2008, when UL-Lafayette most recently went to the Women’s College World Series.
Lotief said Monday that pitcher Christina Hamilton will need to have some of her better performances of the season against No. 11 seed Arizona (44-14), which advanced by eliminating LSU in a win-or-go-home game Sunday night.
UL-Lafayette (47-8-1), the No. 6 seed, finished a regional sweep Sunday by defeating Texas 10-1. In that game, the Cajuns had four home runs among their 12 hits.
“You look at (Arizona’s) losses, and some of them are 10-7 and 12-10,” Lotief said. “If we get in a situation where we have to outscore them, then it’s not good for us.”
Arizona began the postseason leading the nation in home runs. After Sunday’s action, the Wildcats have knocked 106 balls over the fence.
The Cajuns were second behind Arizona in regular-season homers. After the regional, UL-Lafayette now has 85 homers.
Arizona is batting .355 has a team, while the Cajuns are hitting .308.
The Wildcats’ Chelsea Goodacre leads the team with 22 home runs and 72 RBIs. The main power hitter for UL-Lafayette is sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins (20 homers). Elkins also has a team leading 70 RBIs.
Hamilton, a junior righthander, is 27-2 with a 1.53 ERA. During three games in regional play, Hamilton was 3-0. In 21 innings, she allowed 12 hits and six earned runs.
“Christina will have to be effective for us,” Lotief said.
Lotief complimented Hamilton’s two efforts against Texas and the regional opener Friday against Texas Southern.
“I thought this was (Hamilton’s) finest performance,” he said. “I thought she stayed within herself and she trusted the plan. When she struggled, (Hamilton) was able to take a deep breath. I just thought she showed tremendous poise and confidence. She’s really grown up.”
Super regional tickets for the general public will go on sale Thursday at the UL-Lafayette ticket office. Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation members and season-ticket holders got first crack at the tickets Monday. They’ll have exclusive access to purchasing tickets until 5 p.m. Wednesday. ... UL-Lafayette said the six regional games played at Lamson Park drew 10,050. That, according to the school, was the third-highest total at the 16 sites hosting regional play. Attracting more spectators were the regionals at Tuscaloosa, Alabama (12,430), and Lexington, Kentucky (10,622).