KISSIMMEE, Fla. — With its old coach back in the fold, the Louisiana-Lafayette softball team started its weekend with an 8-0 win over Pittsburgh at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic.
The second game, against undefeated Texas A&M, didn’t go quite as well, as the Cajuns lost 6-4 on Friday afternoon.
“I like the way the kids competed.” said Michael Lotief, who began his first weekend as head coach after he’d stepped down last month, then stayed on as a volunteer assistant, then agreed to take over the top spot again Wednesday.
“These kids have faced adversity from the beginning of the season, and they faced adversity again today. Their will to win is there, the togetherness is there, and we just have to go clean up some execution issues.”
Victoria Brown started against Pittsburgh, allowing four hits and striking out one, before handing the ball over to Christina Hamilton in the second inning. Hamilton (2-0) came in to pitch with no outs and two runners on and got back-to-back ground balls and a popup.
The Cajuns offense responded with three runs in the second inning, and then scored at least once in every inning thereafter.
Sarah Draheim hit her fourth home run of the season during the third. Matte Haack ended the game with a homer in the sixth, giving the Cajuns an 8-0 victory.
The Cajuns took a 2-0 lead in the first inning of their second game against Texas A&M. Natalie Fernandez led off with an infield single and was followed by Brianna Cherry’s seventh home run of the season.
Texas A&M responded with two runs of their own in the first, knotting the game at two for the next four innings.
ULL took back the lead in the top of the fifth with a two-run single by Shellie Landry.
The Aggies cut the lead to one in the fifth with a solo-home run, and added three more in the sixth, taking the lead and ultimately winning the game.
ULL pitcher Jordan Wallace took her second loss of the season, allowing six runs on five hits and six walks while striking out six batters.
“The desire, the attitude and everything is there. As a group, we talked about the team goals, the things we have to do together to achieve goals,” Lotief said. “We understand the challenges that are in front of us right now, and we understand the things we have to do better. It’s not attitude, its just execution, and we’re going to do it.”
The Cajuns will have a chance to rebound when they take on Texas at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and the College of Charleston at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“We went hard at this team. Our mindset was there, the chemistry was there.” outfielder Brianna Cherry said after the game. “We just fell short. That doesn’t reflect on our will or our fight and what we’re going to do to improve.”