He’s had a lot of success in his collegiate coaching career, with stops at powerhouse programs at Georgia, Texas A&M and Auburn.
But UL softball coach Gerry Glasco had never been part of a regular-season conference championship, until Saturday afternoon.
His Ragin’ Cajuns provided that when Lexie Comeaux drove a 3-1 pitch over the left-center field wall for a three-run homer that gave UL a 10-2 five-inning win over Georgia State and a third straight run-rule win in their Sun Belt Conference weekend series at Lamson Park.
The win by the 10th-ranked Cajuns (42-4, 21-0), coupled with a 2-1 Troy loss to Appalachian State, locked up the Sun Belt title with six games to go in the regular season. It was a foregone conclusion that the Cajuns would at some point grab the title since they entered the weekend with a five-game lead over the rest of the conference, but the smile on Glasco’s face still spoke volumes after UL’s 19th straight victory.
“I’m excited,” he said. “I think I have to go back to when I was coaching grade school to the last time we won one, so I’m pumped about it.”
The No. 10-ranked UL softball team won its 53rd straight Sun Belt Conference series with a 12-3 rout of Georgia State in five innings Friday a…
UL had locked up its 53rd straight Sun Belt series win — the nation’s longest such streak — with Friday’s 12-3 win after a 10-2 victory on Thursday over the struggling Panthers (7-40, 4-17). Even with that record, Georgia State had not lost a run-rule game in Sun Belt play prior to this weekend.
“They’re really scrappy,” said Comeaux, whose eighth home run of the year plated Kourtney and Kara Gremillion ahead of her for the game-winners in the bottom of the fifth. “Last year it was a fight every game we played them, so we knew that going into this series and I think that’s why we did so well because we never let up.”
The Cajuns scored 32 runs in the three games behind the pitching of Summer Ellyson (29-4), who added to her nation-leading win total by winning all three starts. She threw five innings in Thursday’s win and four in each of the past two, allowing five hits and one earned run while fanning seven in Saturday’s four innings.
“We had a chance to put a little bit of room between her and the other pitchers with a lot of wins, to be honest,” said Glasco of starting the junior in all three games. “But when we get to the regional, we’re probably going to start her three days in a row so I want her used to starting Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Even before she committed to transfer to the UL Ragin’ Cajuns, senior Keeli Milligan knew what the stolen base record was in Lafayette.
The Cajuns scored a first-inning run on Sarah Hudek’s double that plated Raina O’Neal, and then pushed across five runs in the third off Panthers starter Savannah Freeman (3-12) and reliever Emily Soles. Keeli Milligan, who broke UL’s single-season stolen base record Friday with her 52nd steal — the nation’s second-highest mark — had a bunt single, stole second and third and scored on Rawls’ ground ball to start the rally. Hudek’s second hit plated O’Neal, and Alissa Dalton and Kourtney Gremillion followed with RBI singles before Comeaux’s sacrifice fly made it 6-0.
The Panthers pushed across their only two runs in the fourth on two infield hits, Remington Hasty’s double, a Cajun error and Baylee Sexton’s RBI single.
It was still 6-2 going to the bottom of the fifth, but Dalton and Kourtney Gremillion reached on back-to-back Georgia State errors and Kara Gremillion doubled home one run. That brought up Comeaux, who had no idea that a home run would end the game in run-rule fashion for the third straight day.
At times during their year and a half together, it’s probably felt like a tug-of-war for both of them.
“I had no idea that if I were to hit a home run it would be a run rule,” Comeaux said. “That was probably a good thing so I wasn’t really thinking about that. I was just looking for a pitch down the middle in the zone, seeing if she (Soles) was going to make a mistake and just capitalize on it.”
The Cajuns offense came into the weekend ranked fourth nationally in hitting (now at .348), third in on-base percentage and eighth in scoring (7.4 runs per game), but that productivity had slacked off in late March and early April when the Cajuns scored more than four runs in a game only twice in a nine-game stretch.
“That happens during a season,” Comeaux said. “It’s long and you can’t be perfect all the time. It was a little frustrating for us, we were pressing and it showed. The biggest thing is we have a little bit of everything, we have speed, power, and we’re able to be more aggressive on the bases.”
The Cajuns had nine hits Saturday, with four of them for extra bases.
Last year during spring break, the No. 10 UL Ragin’ Cajuns practiced twice a day.
“We want to keep being consistent,” Glasco said. “I was a little bit worried a couple of weeks ago. But I liked our offense here this weekend. We needed three games where we put up runs in a row. We’ve got kids coming around. We just keep cycling hitters up to the top, and what we need in postseason is get four or five of them hot at the same time.”