#13 Louisiana Softball 2017 Preview

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #1 Sun Belt
Louisiana rolls into the 2017 season coming off of another trip to Super Regionals where they fell to Oklahoma in a couple of hard fought games. The Ragin’ Cajuns always have one of the most electric atmospheres in all of college softball at their home field of Lamson Park. This home field advantage sets Louisiana up on an annual basis to be in the conversation for a top 16 national seed as they usually play a quality schedule out of conference and have a solid RPI.
2016: 46-9, 21-2
2016 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Michael Lotief
Key Departed Players:
Lexie Elkins, C, .509 BA, 19 HR, 49 RBI
Shellie Landry, OF, .314 BA, 16 HR, 57 RBI
Sara Corbello, DP, .313 BA, 13 HR, 33 RBI
Kelsey Vincent, IF, .301 BA, 15 HR, 54 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Aleah Craighton, OF, .378 BA, 18 HR, 56 RBI
Hayley Hayden, IF, .374 BA, 8 HR, 47 RBI
Kara Gremillion, IF, .331 BA, 1 HR, 20 RBI
DJ Sanders, IF, .316 BA, 18 HR, 58 RBI
Alex Stewart, P, 209.0 IP, 1.94 ERA, 196 SO
Kylee Jo Trahan, P, 69.2 IP, 2.41 ERA, 79 SO
Louisiana is going to have to reload its offense a bit this season. The four player combination of Lexie Elkins, Shellie Landry, Sara Corbello, and Kelsey Vincent combined for 61 homeruns and 193 runs batted in last season. Thus, it will be up to Aleah Craighton, DJ Sanders, and Hayley Hayden to pick up the slack in the power department and they are more than capable of doing that based on their performances in 2016. In the circle the Ragin’ Cajuns are in prime position to be more of a pitching dominant team in 2017. Alex Stewart is the ace of the staff and will be looking to build upon an outstanding 2016 season. Stewart pitched 209 innings last season, winning 29 games, walking just 37 batters and striking out 196 batters. Kylee Joe Trahan is a good number two starter to play off Stewart. Trahan held opposing teams to a .171 batting average and also did a great job of making quality pitches by only walking 23 batters. Alabama will visit Lamson Park for a three game weekend series starting on February 17th in a matchup of two teams that are more than capable of getting to the Women’s College World Series. Other games of note in the non-conference portion of the schedule include Texas A&M and Baylor and those games should build up the RPI for Louisiana. Overall, the Ragin’ Cajuns might not score 434 runs this season, but there is still enough offensive talent for Louisiana to score plenty of runs as the season goes along. But in the end, the pitching of Stewart and Trahan will carry the way for Louisiana and get the Ragin’ Cajuns back to Super Regionals.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament
Madness 2017 Draft Rankings:
#12 Alex Stewart