ulsoftballpreview.031519

UL's Kourtney Gremillion smashed a two-run home run to finish off the Cajuns' seven-run third inning in an 8-0 road win over Appalachian State on Saturday.

UL softball coach Gerry Glasco was browsing his team’s statistics one evening at home a few weeks ago and something just jumped out at him.

A year ago, Kourtney Gremillion was an everyday first baseman as a freshman for his Ragin’ Cajuns.

For most of this season, transfer first baseman Bailey Curry has manned that position and she hasn’t disappointed at .426 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 54 at-bats.

But Glasco’s eyes dropped down and saw Kourtney Gremillion’s line. At the time, Gremillion was batting .333 with only 20 at-bats.

His gut told him something had to be done.

“I had to do something,” said Glasco, whose No. 10-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns begin their Sun Belt home schedule at 6 p.m. Friday against Troy at Lamson Park.

“It hit me that Kourtney had to start playing more. She’s the hardest worker on the team. What kind of message am I sending to my kids if I don’t?”

That was the first decision. The second one was, exactly how was that going to happen?

Sitting Curry down wasn’t an option, and senior Lexie Comeaux tends to get most of the time at designated player. So Gremillion made the unexpected move to rightfield, Sarah Hudek started playing more in leftfield and leftfielder Keeli Milligan is playing more at second base.

During January drills, Comeaux experimented in rightfield just in case, but not Gremillion.

“We had to do something,” Glasco said. “Kourtney’s going to play. She’s an extremely hard worker and she’s a good enough athlete.”

Plus, unlike in baseball, softball affords coaches the ability to re-enter starters, so creative substitutions at right and first base can be utilized to get the best offensive and defensive lineups on the field as much as possible.

In just a handful of games, Glasco’s idea is paying off. Gremillion doesn’t yet have enough at-bats to be listed among UL’s top hitters, but she’s currently hitting .382 with two homers and 14 RBIs.

“We all know how good Sarah Hudek is,” Glasco said. “Sarah has 15 RBIs in 66 at-bats. Kourtney has 14 RBIs in only 34 at-bats. And Kourtney’s been hitting in the seven and eight holes. She just has to get more at-bats. It’s just that simple.”

With that conflict apparently solved for now, the “only thing” weighing heavily on Glasco’s mind at night is the No. 2 pitcher on the staff.

Don’t be surprised if ace Summer Ellyson pitches all three games this weekend.

“We’re going to try to rest her as much as we can,” Glasco said, “but right now, I just feel like we have to play to win every single day if we’re going to be able to host a regional down the road.”

Troy at UL Softball

Series: 6 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; Noon Sunday.

Place: Lamson Park.

Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.

Records: Troy 18-9, UL 20-3.

UL Hitters: Julie Rawls (.431, 6 HRs, 23 RBIs); Bailey Curry (.426, 2 HRs, 17 RBIs); Sarah Hudek (.364, 4 HRs, 15 RBIs); Raina O’Neal (.361, 5 HRs, 19 RBIs); Lexie Comeaux (.358, 5 HRs, 18 RBIs). Team: .348, 177 runs, 28 HRs, 87 SBs.

Troy Hitters: Katie Webb (.378, 18 RBIs); Bailey Taylor (.355, 3 HRs, 26 RBIs); Talia Truitt (.343, 1 RBI). Team: .284, 131 runs, 12 HRs, 23 SBs.

UL Pitchers: Summer Ellyson (14-3, 1.25, 95.1 IP, 50 H, 17 BB, 111 K); Kandra Lamb (3-0, 1.84, 26.2 IP, 8 H, 13 BB, 28 K); Carrie Boswell (3-0, 2.83, 17.1 IP, 16 H, 8 BB, 8 K). Team: 1.66, 143.1 IP, 80 H, 41 BB, 147 K, .158 OBA.

Troy Pitchers: Leanna Johnson (12-3, 2.12, 92.1 IP, 65 H, 20 BB, 113 K); Annie Willis (5-5, 2.05, 58 IP, 43 H, 12 BB, 53 K). Team: 2.74, 176 IP, 144 H, 59 BB, 177 K, .221 OBA.


Follow Kevin Foote on Twitter, @FooteNote.