Softball: Ellyson Ks 20 as UL pitching rules sweep
Kevin Foote, The Advertiser, Feb. 10, 2018
Supposedly the biggest question for the No. 22-ranked UL Ragin’ Cajuns entering the 2018 softball season was the pitching.
Somebody forgot to tell Summer Ellyson and Kylee Jo Trahan.
In sweeping two Mardi Gras Classic games Friday, the Cajuns went from searching for a potential ace pitcher to possessing two strong candidates to fill that role in the matter of about three and a half hours.
Two complete games. One performance for the ages.
Trahan started it with a strong outing, giving up one run on just three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in edging Eastern Illinois 2-1.
Then Ellyson promptly took the ball and struck out 20 batters to set a new school record for strikeouts in a seven-inning game in handling Evansville 7-1.
“I was like, ‘Dang, Summer, I thought you might strike out 11, but 11 more than me?’” Trahan laughed. “She pitched amazing. I’m so happy for her.”
They both did to the delight of the 1,815 fans on hand to watch at Lamson Park.
The man with the biggest smile after those two outings, though, was new UL softball coach Gerry Glasco.
Head softball coach Gerry Glasco talks to his Ragin' Cajuns during a timeout Friday Feb. 9, 2018. (Photo: Buddy Delahoussaye/Special to the Advertiser)
“They both were incredible tonight,” said Glasco, whose 3-0 Cajuns will face Eastern Illinois at 2 p.m. Saturday and Iowa at 4:30 p.m. “It was fun to watch. Pitchers have to feel confident. They have to feel that you have confidence in their stuff. We've worked very hard on that.
“We were actually going to go 4-2-1 (inning breakdown). But I thought Kylee Jo was pitching so well that I wanted her to see that she could go the distance. I was going to pull Summer after six because it’s a long season, but she was only one strikeout short of a school record.”
Ellyson struck out the first 10 batters she faced, before Eryn Gould doubled and later scored on Brittany Hay’s two-out single to rightcenter to spoil the shutout bid. Ellyson promptly struck out nine of the next 11 batters.
The only out that wasn’t via the strikeout was a weak foul pop up for the second out of the sixth inning.
“My rise ball is what got them,” Ellyson said. “They were head over heels for it.”
Earlier on Friday, Evansville hit five home runs in a 14-6 win over Samford.
“They told me that, but I just decided to trust my stuff,” Ellyson said.
Of the 108 pitches Ellyson threw, 79 were for strikes.
“January was amazing,” said Ellyson, who pitched 20 innings last season. “We worked very hard to come together as a team. I couldn’t have done it without everybody behind me and all the runs the offense scored.
“After this outing, I want to try to reach this same standard every game.”
Statistically, that won’t happen, but Glasco has seen enough of Ellyson in January scrimmages to know her potential.
“Her mechanics are really good right now,” he said.
Trahan threw 107 pitches with 67 being strikes.
“I really felt good tonight,” she said. “It really helps to build your confidence. For me, it’s about getting more inside myself. The fans are great, but sometimes they can make you a little nervous too.”
Although the two dominant complete games may have surprised many, Trahan said that’s just the beginning.
“I think we have a fantastic pitching staff,” Trahan said. “People just haven’t seen them, and there’s even more pitchers they haven’t seen yet.”