For most UL softball fans, Day 1 of the Oxford softball regional was a bit scary.
Sure, their No. 7-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns won Friday as expected and so did top-seeded Ole Miss.
UL junior ace pitcher Summer Ellyson may have been pitching on the road in the Mississippi heat Saturday afternoon, but the All-American candi…
But the Cajuns squeaked by 3-2 over Southeast Missouri and Ole Miss went through Chattanooga like a locomotive 12-0.
It was much more than simply comparing two final scores. The Cajuns’ offense hasn’t resembled the powerful early-season attack in almost a month now.
You can only imagine how many UL fans said, “We can beat Ole Miss, but we’re going to have to start hitting the ball better.”
All along, pitcher Summer Ellyson was more than ready to carry the load.
You don’t get to 39-4 on the season without being able to do what’s needed.
On Saturday in Oxford, it was needed, and once again Ellyson delivered.
“I’m really proud of Summer,” UL coach Gerry Glasco said after the Cajuns' 2-0 win. “She was very dominant on the mound, doing what we come to expect — seven innings, seven strikeouts.
“She was in control of the game.”
Truth be told, Glasco is a hitting coach. He’d prefer winning by pounding the ball and chasing the opposing pitcher.
But it was obvious that wasn’t in the cards early Saturday with Ole Miss southpaw Molly Jacobsen dealing as well.
OXFORD, Miss. There were several sloppy base-running mistakes.
Each team only got three hits. Jacobsen struck out 10.
“Anytime you play Ole Miss at Ole Miss in the tournament game, that’s a really good ball club and an extremely well-coached team," Glasco said. "I thought Jacobsen really pitched a great game. Like Summer, I thought she controlled the game. I just thought our kids found a way to win.
“I thought we played at a high level today if you really understand the game of softball. The things we did today, only elite teams can do.”
In addition to Ellyson’s greatness, the Cajuns played impeccable defense behind her.
Jacobsen wasn’t as fortunate with one of the Rebels’ two errors allowing both Cajuns runs to score.
Apparently, Glasco had a feeling it would be a pitchers' duel even before the game’s first pitch.
One pregame notion is he’d start Bailey Curry at first base, because she had the highest batting average against left-handers this season. Moreover, Casidy Chaumont struggled at the plate Friday and Glasco has been quick to change lineups throughout the season.
Instead, he went with his best defensive lineup.
In the postseason, it’s simply about advancing, not looking pretty.
“I like to play feelings, thoughts, matchups,” Glasco said. “I don’t know if we’ll settle in. Casidy was huge today. Casidy’s that kind of player. She can do so much damage in one swing. I want to give her chances, because I know (she can do it). When I’ve got her at second base, I think that’s our best defensive lineup.
“I don’t know if I got it right or wrong but we got the win.”
It can certainly be a crazy game at times. On Friday, UL’s careless baserunning almost proved costly in the 3-2 win over SEMO.
On Saturday, UL’s aggressive baserunning coaxed Ole Miss into the game-winning throwing error.
“Today it paid off for us," Glasco said. "We were fortunate to come with a good win and thrilled to be in the position we’re in for tomorrow.”
If it ends up being UL against Ole Miss again Sunday, the adjustments should be interesting to monitor.
The games must be played, but there’s little question the No. 7 UL Ragin’ Cajuns will be the most postseason-tested program at the 2019 Oxford…
Ellyson will certainly pitch, and Jacobsen sure seemed to control UL’s lineup as well.