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Softball: Riding 'a lot of emotion,' Glasco's No. 11 team aims to regroup on the road at Oklahoma

Tim Buckley, The Advertiser, Feb. 26, 2019

UL softball coach Gerry Glasco talks to his team during a win over Stephen F. Austin earlier this month.

UL softball coach Gerry Glasco talks to his team during a win over Stephen F. Austin earlier this month. (Photo11: James Mays/Special to the Advertiser)

With the pressure of perfection lifted, the No. 11 UL softball team heads into its biggest weekend of the non-conference season — with games against nationally ranked Oklahoma and Oregon State — coming off a rough few days on the road.

After beating Kent State by run rule and knocking off then-No. 21 Baylor last Friday in a multi-team weekend tournament hosted by Baylor, then defeating North Texas early Saturday, the Ragin’ Cajuns fell 5-1 to the Mean Green later Saturday.

That ended a 14-0 start to the season for UL, which was taking its first road trip of the year.

One day later, the Cajuns fell 4-3 in eight innings to Baylor.

Related: Baylor edges out Cajuns in extra innings

Things started off great,” UL coach Gerry Glasco said.

“Went to bed (Friday night) extremely excited about our team, 13-0, and the way we were hitting. … So I felt really good about our ballclub.”

Then came that rematch with Baylor.

“For the first time,” Glasco said, “our offense didn’t respond.

“The kids took it hard. I took it hard. … Maybe we all took it too hard.”

The Cajuns really did have a tough time shaking their initial loss of the year.

More: Mean Green hands Cajuns softball first loss

Related: Cajuns top Baylor to complete Friday sweep

“Looking back, you have to say, ‘No, we didn’t handle it well,’” Glasco said.

“I know the kids were really disappointed after the first loss, because, as silly as it seems to say, when you’re 14-0 you’re having kids and you’re having coaches that are having dreams of getting into next weekend at Oklahoma undefeated.

“And it seemed like we were so close. And I had that thought,” Glasco added. “After Friday night, I thought, ‘Man, we might can get to Oklahoma actually undefeated.’ And maybe that was a mistake. But those thoughts were there.”

Overconfidence in its offense, Glasco suggested, may have been a reason for UL’s stumble.

The Cajuns got tentative at the plate, he felt, and lost their aggressiveness.

But there was another reason.

“I think maybe we (weren’t) prepared for the adversity,” said Glasco, whose 2019 season began just days after he tragically lost his youngest daughter Geri Ann — a Cajuns volunteer assistant coach who played at Georgia and Oregon — to a multi-vehicle accident on Interstate 10 near Lafayette.

More: Scholarship created in memory of Geri Ann Glasco

“I think this team, we were riding a lot of emotion. The kids have had a lot. They’ve been through a lot. They were wanting to win. They’ve got a lot of motivation to win. They’re putting a lot of extra pressure on themselves, probably, to win because of everything they’ve been through in the last month.

“So it makes sense to me that after the first loss we went from a really high to a really low moment,” he added. “And I wish I could talk to them again before Game 2. I’d say things maybe a little different.”

More: UL's Glasco 'selfless' response after loss of daughter an inspiration

More: UL softball to honor Geri Ann Glasco with helmet stickers

More: Scholarship created in memory of Geri Ann Glasco

It wasn’t just the pressure, though, either.

“I think we just weren’t prepared to get into a knock-down, drag-out battle,” Glasco said. “And things maybe had come too easy for us.

“Well, they won’t have that thought this weekend. They know this is gonna be four knock-down, drag-out games.”

Consider it a lesson learned, then, as the Cajuns prepare to face the Sooners and the Beavers.

“We definitely have to bounce back better the next time we lose,” Glasco said. “We have to respond better.

“I hate that loss,” he added with reference to the one to Baylor. “But also you can’t overdramatize it.”

More: Glasco tragedy makes UL softball team tighter

The Cajuns’ chance for improved response will come this later this week.

But the road to instant redemption is one filled with potential potholes.

UL first faces No. 23 Oregon State and then No. 4 Oklahoma on Friday in Norman, Oklahoma.

On Saturday afternoon it’s Oregon State again, and on Sunday afternoon it’s Oklahoma again.

“So while we’re disappointed,” Glasco said, “we have to get back on track.

“Hopefully we handle the road trip better. I think each time you go on the road, you should get better, and get more adapted to it.”

It’s all part of the growth process during a season Glasco and the Cajuns hope ends with a trip to Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series.

More: 'This team is dangerous,' Glasco says as Cajuns improve to 11-0

“Road trips, each day and each night you stay in a strange hotel eating meals that aren’t exactly catered to best of your interest as an athlete,” Glasco said. “The road trips wear you down a little bit, and we wore down.

“I expected that to happen, but I thought we’d be good enough we could overcome it.

“With the test we’ve got this week, it’s going to be a long, hard weekend, and we have to be at our best,” he added. “But the opportunity is definitely exciting to think that we can come out of there with a couple wins, maybe even three or four.”

More: Opening win provides escape, some healing for UL softball after Glasco tragedy