SAN MARCOS, Texas — It had been 10 days since his No. 7-ranked UL Ragin’ Cajuns played and the long layoff was also complicated by final exams.
Consequently, coach Gerry Glasco wasn’t expecting a textbook performance from his team in its first game of the Sun Belt Conference softball tournament Thursday.
These days, UL senior third baseman Kara Gremillion doesn’t even want to consider the future.
So a modest 4-3 victory over host Texas State worked just fine.
“We’ve been off for a few days,” Glasco said. “I expected not to be sharp. Just to survive (is good), because Texas State’s got a really good ball club and is well-coached. Playing on their home field, I knew they were going to come out with a lot of fight.
“We can play better, we can play sharper, but when you come off a 10 to 12-day layoff, you kind of expect it to take a game or two to get back into that flow.”
The Cajuns improved to 48-4 overall and will now meet No. 6 Coastal Carolina at 11 a.m. Friday in the first of two winners bracket games.
“I told them before the game, don’t worry about if it’s pretty or ugly, just win,” Glasco said. “That’s the key to postseason.”
The NCAA softball regional brackets will be announced 8 p.m. Sunday.
As usual, All-American pitching candidate Summer Ellyson carried a big load, allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits, two walks and struck out six in seven innings to improve her record to 35-4.
“I thought Summer wasn’t nearly as sharp as she’ll probably be the next two days, but again, we’ve been resting her and we’ve been in finals,” Glasco said. “I think Summer will get ahead in the count (tomorrow) and I think defensively, we’ll take away the bunt tomorrow.
“We were a little too loose at third base. We’ve got to get up a little bit on left-handed batters and take away the bunt. We’ll make that adjustment.”
The long layoff also seemed to affect the Cajuns defensively with two errors resulting in two unearned runs. And while UL didn’t strike out once at the place, it settled for just five base hits.
The No. 7 UL Ragin’ Cajuns softball program placed a league-high nine individuals on the All-Sun Belt Conference team and nearly posted a clea…
“I thought Texas State had a really good game plan,” Glasco said. “They had some really good bunts. They put pressure on us with the baserunning.
“They looked more comfortable than us. I didn’t think we looked comfortable until Raina O’Neal led off the inning with a double down the leftfield line.”
O’Neal’s double led off the decisive three-run fourth for the Cajuns. First, she scored on a passed ball. Then Lexie Comeaux’s double down the leftfield line drove home a second run.
Kourtney Gremillion finished out the scoring with an RBI single to right.
Glasco is optimistic the offensive punch will return Friday.
“Then offensively, we’ve got to be more aggressive,” he said. “We only had five hits today. Then we’ve got to set for change-up. When they throw that pitch, we’ve got to look for that pitch, hunt that pitch and punish that pitch.
“Today we were looking for the fastball and the change-up, and you can’t do that. You have to look for one or the other.”
Texas State dropped to 29-24 with the loss and moved into an elimination game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday against No. 3 Texas-Arlington.
For UL senior pitcher Alison Deville, Sunday’s scheduled start on Senior Day at Lamson Park is a dream come true a decade in the making.
“I’m proud of them,” Glasco said of his players. “They came out and competed hard today and found a way to win.”