Cajuns’ Taylor Terrio makes most of opportunities _lowres

Advocate Photo by LEE CELANO - University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin' Cajun's Taylor Terrio is out at second as Hofstra University Pride's Michaela Transue throws to attempt a double play in the second inning in Lafayette Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.

LAFAYETTE — She’s spent most of the season watching the No. 5-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette softball team begin the season 20-1, but when Taylor Terrio gets her opportunities, she makes the most of them.

As the Cajuns face their first road test of the conference season against Texas-Arlington this weekend, no one may be more prepared than Terrio. While Lexie Elkins, DJ Sanders and Kelsey Vincent get the publicity, Terrio represents a large part of the Cajuns team that works just as hard in practice.

“Taylor’s a kid who hasn’t had a lot of at-bats but continues to put in the time and put in the reps,” Cajuns coach Michael Lotief said. “She comes in in a critical situation and gets it done. That is a testament to her preparation.”

Terrio’s path to Lafayette wasn’t clear-cut. After a prep career at Riverside, Terrio signed with Nicholls State and spent her freshman year with the Colonels. She led Nicholls in hits her freshman year and earned all-conference honors. She transferred to UL-Lafayette last season.

“Being a part of this team is a dream come true,” Terrio said. “I just want to do anything to help the team win. I’ll be aggressive when I need to be or do whatever they need. I just want to help them win.”

Terrio has found herself up in a critical at-bat in the past two games for the Cajuns. Against South Alabama last weekend, Terrio was up with the Cajuns down four runs in the sixth inning and needing a spark. Lotief said he had Terrio in because South Alabama pitcher Destin Vicknair — a former teammate of Terrio’s at Riverside — was struggling against left-handed batters.

The Cajuns needed base runners, and Terrio responded with a single. It was the spark Lotief wanted, and the Cajuns rallied to beat the Jaguars 10-6.

Against McNeese State on Tuesday, Terrio was up again in a pressure spot. With the bases loaded and no outs, Terrio singled in the bottom of the ninth and gave the Cajuns a 5-4 win.

Lotief speaks often about how important every member of the team is regardless of playing time. Terrio is a testament to how intense and important those practices are, and Lotief said he thinks she is destined for a nice season.

“She continues to work and work and work to be ready for situations like those,” Lotief said. “Her preparation was showing, and you see the lightbulb go on. She continues to prepare, and now she is ready for the moment.”