Before the 2019 season, the Sun Belt Conference changed the format of the softball regular-season schedule format, going from two days to play a three-game weekend series to three days.
Considering how talented No. 11-ranked UL is, it might have the wrong year to make that change.
It may go against conventional old-school thinking, but sometimes the best thing for a good team is just to lose a game.
The Ragin' Cajuns (26-4) are off to a 9-0 start heading into this weekend’s road series at Georgia Southern, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.
UL coach Gerry Glasco said there are pros and cons to the change, but he certainly feels like it helps his team’s makeup.
“For us as a ball team, I think it’s a positive,” Glasco said. “I think having three games over three days is a huge advantage when you’ve got a pitch like Summer Ellyson in the circle.”
But while it’s good for the Cajuns, there are down sides to the new policy.
“The cons are that you take your students out of class,” Glasco said. “You miss more school by being there an extra day, and as a coach, you’re away from home an extra day. And it’s more expensive. You’re traveling for an extra day and on a Sun Belt budget, you have a pretty good effect on our budget by traveling that extra day.”
MOBILE, Ala. — Perhaps all UL ace right-hander Summer Ellyson needed was a day off.
There are also inherent benefits.
“The positives are it’s probably a better fan experience,” Glasco said. “Physically, it’s probably less challenging for the student-athlete. When you go out there for a doubleheader, you’re out there for eight or nine hours. That’s a long day.
“It’s kind of a balance of physically, it wears on you a little bit playing two games, and mentally, being gone and missing that Thursday and Friday of school some weeks is really tough on a student.”
So how would Glasco vote?
“I’m kind of neutral,” he said. “Whatever they say to do, that’s what we’ll do. I don’t know that I would fight one way or the other. I see advantages and disadvantages both ways.”
MOBILE, Ala. — Things are certainly getting far too interesting for the No. 9-ranked UL Ragin’ Cajuns softball team.
One other potential reason UL opponents may not like that idea this season is it gives Glasco more time to concoct lineup changes.
The most recent idea has power-hitting centerfielder Raina O’Neal in the lead-off spot, while moving Alissa Dalton down.
“I like that lineup,” Glasco said. “We did that a lot at Georgia, where we’d go power, power, power one through five and then put our speed kids in the eight and nine holes.
“I put Dalton down there because she such a good two-strike hitter that I’m not scared to take three or four pitches to give Keeli (Milligan) time to steal. That’s the only reason I had her in the nine-hole, simply to protect Keeli.”
MOBILE, Ala. — Apparently, the No. 9-ranked UL Ragin’ Cajuns got a little tired of tightly contested games.
The unintended consequence of putting all the power near the top and speed at the bottom is opposing staffs have started walking UL at an alarming rate.
“We thought it would force them to pitch to us and they wouldn’t pitch around us,” Glasco said. “But if you look at the three-game series, we drew like 20-something walks in three games. It was huge for us. Over the last 12 games, we drew 50 walks. If we can keep drawing four walks a game and then hit a home run behind those walks, we’re going to be in good shape.”
UL at Georgia Southern
Series: 5 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. Sunday.
Place: Eagle Field in Statesboro, Georgia.
Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.
Records: UL 26-4, 9-0; GaS 16-15, 3-6.
UL hitters: Julie Rawls (.478, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs); Lexie Comeaux (.394, 7 HRs, 26 RBIs); Bailey Curry (.389, 6 HRs, 30 RBIs); Raina O'Neal (.381, 8 HRs, 25 RBIs). Team: .355, 242 runs, 46 HRs, 103 SBs.
GaS hitters: Shelby Wilson (.403, 7 HRs, 29 RBIs); Hannah Farrell (.391, 4 HRs, 22 RBIs); Mekhia Freeman (.390, 2 HRs, 13 RBIs). Team: .269, 150 runs, 33 HRs, 11 SBs.
UL pitchers: Summer Ellyson (18-4, 1.40 ERA, 130 IP, 75 H, 22 BB, 153 K); Kandra Lamb (3-0, 1.95, 28.2 IP, 10 H, 14 BB, 31 K); Carrie Boswell (5-0, 3.04, 25.1 IP, 23 H, 11 BB, 11 K). Team: 1.77, 189.1 IP, 116 H, 50 BB, 195 K, .172.
GaS pitchers: Rylee Waldrep (4-8, 3.91, 73.1 IP, 83 H, 18 BB, 28 K); Ashleigh Morton (6-4, 4.14, 49 IP, 67 H, 15 BB, 17 K). Team: 3.76, 208.2 IP, 234 H, 84 BB, 94 K.