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Softball: Defensive miscues prove fatal to UL

Chad Washington, The Advertiser, May 30, 2014

UL catcher Lexie Elkins smashes a home run in the first inning, but it would end up being the Cajuns’ only hit of the game. (Photo: Vance Lanier/Special to the Advertiser )

The UL softball team is not a great defensive team, but in a big stage like the NCAA Women’s College World Series, your weaknesses get exposed a lot more, and sometimes in crucial situations.

That was evident on Thursday as a couple of bad throws helped Kentucky to score some runs and to help the Wildcats to get a 4-1 win.

The Cajuns committed three errors in the game that led to two runs scoring, including one coming in the first inning on a bad throw to first that later turned into a run.

Another error came in the sixth as pitcher Christina Hamilton threw a bunt attempt by UK’s Lauren Cumbess that first baseman Kelsey Vincent could not grab that allowed a run to score.

"I made a bad throw," Hamilton said. "I spun my shoulders and – I don’t really know. I guess the game was faster than I was expecting it to, but I spun my shoulders and made a bad throw. Tired to throw it too hard."

But head coach Michael Lotief knows what his team is at this point in the season, and the Cajuns have to battle back from it mentally.

"When we make an error or don’t do something perfect, that’s not our plan. We’re not trying to be perfect," he said. "(We’re) just trying to play the game with a lot of energy and just keep believing in each other. And I’m proud of these kids. I’m proud of how they play and how hard they fight."

ELKINS’ HOT BAT: UL catcher Lexie Elkins’ home run in the first inning was her 23rd of the season, moving her into sole position of third place nationally. All five of Elkins’ hits in the 2014 NCAA tournament have been solo home runs.

It also tied her with former Ragin’ Cajuns standouts Christi Orgeron (2011) and Holly Tankersley (2008) for the second-most in a single-season in school history.

SHUTOUTS RULE: The first two games of the tournament saw a pair of shutouts as Florida and Oregon dominated on the hill.

The Gators battered Baylor 11-0 in a run-rule game after five innings. A grand slam by freshman Chelsea Herndon was the crushing blow that ended the game.

Oregon’s Cheridan Hawkins held Florida State to only one hit as the Ducks win 3-0. Oregon opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning on an RBI groundout by sophomore Janelle Lindvall that plated sophomore Alyssa Gillespie from third base.

Oregon and Florida will meet tonight at 6 p.m., while Baylor and Florida State will play an elimination game on Saturday at 11 a.m.

WCWS STAYING IN OKC: The NCAA announced on Thursday that the Women’s College World Series will stay in Oklahoma City to 2020, and ASA Hall of Fame Stadium will undergo improvements to the facility to host the tournament to 2035.

Oklahoma City has hosted the WCWS for the last 32 years, except for 1996. Through those years, 1,022,117 fans have attended and in 2013 the one-million mark was reached last year.

Lotief has a lot of love for OKC and what the park means to the sport. "Since we were here last in ’08, this place has really transformed. The additions to the stadium and the sport have grown, (and it) has been phenomenal. I think that tracks what’s going on with softball across the country. I’m so proud that we get to showcase our sport in such a special venue."