LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette softball associate head coach T.J. Hubbard is happy to be home.
“It’s always good to be home, but this weekend felt a little extra special,” he said. “It was great to be back this weekend.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns are still without head coach Michael Lotief, who is battling complications from a throat infection, but Hubbard has done quite nicely in his absence. The Cajuns took two of three from Texas State on the road two weekends ago and swept Georgia State this past weekend, making Hubbard 5-1 in his six games at the helm.
He said he was impressed with the offense against Georgia State; all three games ended in run-rule victories. He said he was impressed with the pitching; Cajuns pitchers combined for three runs allowed and just three walks while striking out 26.
But what he was most impressed with was the support from the fans.
“These are the best softball fans in the country,” he said. “It was much needed, and we appreciate the support.”
Pitching-wise, Alex Stewart continued her hot streak, now with four wins in her past four starts — including in the first game of the series against Georgia State. Stewart’s start was the first in the first game of a weekend series by someone not named Jordan Wallace or Christina Hamilton since Ashley Brignac faced Western Kentucky on April 28, 2012.
“Alex Stewart did a phenomenal job in games one and two,” Hubbard said. “She was locked in and continued like she never missed a beat. She commanded her changeup and sometimes threw it back to back to back. With the numbers Georgia State had power-wise, that is what you have to have.”
Hubbard said, based on the past two series, Stewart has cemented her spot in the mix of weekend starters. Hubbard said Wallace and Hamilton took ownership of their struggles in the Texas State series, and he said he was impressed with their maturity coming out of it.
“They went to work, and I was proud of the way they approached their workouts,” he said. “They challenged themselves to get better. They got the ball and got the opportunity and they shined.”
Offensively, Hubbard said catcher Lexie Elkins is what keeps them running. Elkins hit her 19th and 20th home runs of the season to lead the nation. Hubbard said he doesn’t know whether Elkins is hitting as well as she did during her 2014 campaign, but he said she is in a good place.
“I don’t know if I can compare her to last year,” Hubbard said. “She was pretty locked in. I am not one to look back too much. She is locked in and seeing the ball well and doing all the things you need your best hitter to do.”