It’s a tricky series of sorts for UL softball coach Gerry Glasco.
His priorities are torn, or at least multiple.
On one hand, his ultimate goal is to win a national championship and so wants to win as many games as possible.
If the previous seven games for the UL Ragin’ Cajuns all kind of looked like the same game to you, Wednesday’s 7-1 victory over the Southeaste…
But as his No. 10 Ragin’ Cajuns hit the road for a weeklong trip to North Carolina during spring break, he’d also like for his players to have a little fun.
In a perfect world, the latter will get his Cajuns (34-4, 15-0) a step closer to that bigger goal.
And oh yeah, there’s also this matter of the first-place team in the Sun Belt hitting the road to meet the second-place team when UL opens the weekend league series at 5 p.m. Friday against Appalachian State in Boone, N.C.
As usual, the series is weather permitting. Thursday's forecast called for 90 percent chance of rain Friday, 60 percent Saturday and 100 percent Sunday.
UL coach Gerry Glasco doesn't pass up many opportunities to speak glowingly about how great it is for his No. 10-ranked Ragin' Cajuns to play …
“I think what we need to do right now is sit back and make sure the kids are having fun,” Glasco said. “Really be sure they’re ready to go and be prepared for our opponent up at App State, because they’re a really good ball club this year. But I think it’s also important that we mix in some spring break stuff.
“We’re going to do a little touring stuff, get to see Boone, North Carolina, and at Campbell. Try to make it fun for the kids and hopefully come back from there with a little better team chemistry, even. “
It’s been a season filled with road trips for the Cajuns this season. Glasco, though, is hoping this one features more touristy aspects like hikes and visiting historic sites to spice it up a bit.
The No. 10-ranked UL softball team has won 10 games in a row, sports a 33-4 record and is a perfect 15-0 in Sun Belt Conference play.
“Yes, I feel like we’ve been at home two weekends this year,” UL ace pitcher Summer Ellyson said.
“A lot of times we spend a week, we are students, so a lot of us are doing homework and studying. And yeah, we’ll just hang around in the hotel when we’re not doing anything and watching movies are whatever. We’re all friends. We’re sisters. We’re really close.”
While the Cajuns have been the gold standard in the Sun Belt from day one, the Mountaineers (27-11, 11-3) are the new kids on the block, having never qualified for a Sun Belt Conference tournament in their short stint in this league.
At times during their year and a half together, it’s probably felt like a tug-of-war for both of them.
Appalachian State has ridden solid pitching and defense so far this season to shock many with their second-place standing.
Offensively, though, the season totals aren’t close. UL is hitting .340 with 49 homers, while App State is hitting .251 with 24 homers. The Cajuns even steal way more bases than the Mountaineers 118-36 thanks to 40 from Keeli Milligan.
The problem of late for the Cajuns’ hitters has been off-speed pitches.
“We’ll work on that, but the bottom line is we’re finding ways to win, and I’ve got to be proud of them,” Glasco said. “I want to be sure I’m positive with them more than I’m negative with them. I’m hoping this road trip, by the time we get back, we’ll see our offense firing again.”
The bottom line certainly wasn’t a problem.
UL at Appalachian State
Series: 5 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. Sunday.
Place: Sywassink/Lloyd Field, Boone, N.C.
Radio: KPEL 1420 AM.
Records: UL 34-4, 15-0; ASU 27-11, 11-3.
Ranking: UL No. 10.
RPI: UL No. 20; ASU No. 93.
UL Hitters: Julie Rawls (.414, 9 HRs, 35 RBIs), Alissa Dalton (.400, 3 HRs, 29 RBIs); Bailey Curry (.367, 6 HRs, 32 RBIs). Team: .340, 274 runs, 49 HRs, 118 SBs.
ASU Hitters: Keri White (.333, 1 HR, 17 RBIs); Sidney Russell (.272, 1 HR, 15 RBIs); Megan Walker (.268, 7 RBIs). Team: .251, 174 runs, 24 HRs, 36 SBs.
UL Pitchers: Summer Ellyson (23-4, 1.18 ERA, 166.1 IP, 91 H, 31 BB, 199 K); Carrie Boswell (8-0, 2.28 ERA, 43 IP, 39 H, 17 BB, 14 K). Team: 1.51 ERA, 245.1 IP, 148 H, 65 BB, 247 K, .171.
ASU Pitchers: Kenzie Longanecker (14-3, 2.08 ERA, 117.2 IP, 114 H, 25 BB, 86 K); Sydney Holland (10-5, 2.00, 87.2 IP, 82 H, 24 BB, 46 K). Team: 2.35 ERA, 262.2 IP, 253, 82 BB, 159 K, .246.