#9 Louisiana Softball Preview

Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

Overall Rank: #9
Conference Rank: #1 Sun Belt
Louisiana College Softball Top 44 Team Preview
Louisiana Team Page


Head Coach Mike Lotief enters his first solo season at the helm of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns, his 11th overall.  Wife Stefani Lotief stepped down as co-head coach at the end of 2012.  Together they built a perennial softball power that claimed 11 of the 12 Sun Belt regular season titles including the last five and 12 of the 13 Conference Tournament Championships; five consecutive.  In 2012, the Cajuns reached the Super-Regionals only to fall to Arizona State in Tempe in three games.  The team posted some outstanding offensive numbers, finishing first in scoring (7.81 runs/game), third in average (.343), eighth in stolen bases (1.9), eighth in slugging percentage (.532) and 11th in home runs per game (1.25) nationally.  Coach Lotief’s crew has won 45 plus games and reached the NCAA post season for 14 consecutive seasons.  2013 will provide some challenges the Coach let on, “Of course, we lost two All-Americans in Christi Orgeron and Katie Smith, plus we lost a consistent pitcher in Ashley Brignac.  Probably going to be tough not only to replace their production but also their leadership too.”  The Cajuns have a large roster.  They bring back nine returners with experience, three transfers, six red shirt freshmen and seven freshmen.  As usual, Coach Lotief has lined up a tough non-conference schedule including 20 games with 12 teams that reached the NCAA Tournament in 2012.  The slate has road double headers against Oklahoma, Texas and Houston, as well as tests against Michigan, South Florida and Hofstra.

2012: 53-6, 21-3
2012 Postseason: NCAA (Lost in Super Regional to Arizona St.)
Coach: Michael Lotief, 11th Season

Field Players:
Coach Lotief describes his senior All-American shortstop Nerissa Myers, “She is the heart and soul of this team.  Defensively she has always been strong and now her offensive production arrived last season; hopefully, she can take another step this season.  She led the country in runs scored (83).”  Additionally, she hit 13 bombs, drove in 79 (third nationally) and slugged .729.  Junior third baseman Natalie Fernandez slapped .436 last spring.  She had a .500 on-base percentage and stole 20 bases.  The Cajuns have also added three transfers for the upcoming season, including junior outfielder Shelbi Redfearn (Baylor), junior pitcher Kristin Martinez (Kansas) and sophomore Leandra Maly (Blinn College).  

All-Conference and All-Region selection Jordan Wallace was sensational as a freshman, ending her rookie campaign 27-2.  She collected 23 straight wins to begin her career.  Wallace had a 2.26 ERA.  Red shirt sophomore Christina Hamilton, who missed 2012, returns.

Who to Watch:
Louisiana will be young in a few spots in 2013.  Coach Lotief said, “Unlike the last couple of seasons, we will start or play five freshmen this season, so we are going to need contribution from all of them:  Shellie Landry, Sarah Corbello, red-shirt freshman Samantha Walsh, red shirt freshman Meagan Thomas and red-shirt catcher Linzey Cifreo.”

Final Projection:
Coach Lotief’s Cajun crew will still have an uncommon mix of speed and power this year.  Myers’ and Fernandez’ leadership at the plate should help the team continue it’s prolific offensive output.  Wallace’s talent and experience in the circle give the Cajuns a chance in any contest.  Look for Louisiana to continue its dominance of the Sun Belt and make their 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Matte Haack, 1B/DH, 189
Hits: Natalie Fernandez, 3B, 75
Home Runs: Nerissa Myers, SS, 13
RBIs: Nerissa Myers, SS, 79
Runs: Nerissa Myers, SS, 83
Stolen Bases: Nerissa Myers, SS, 21

Wins: Jordan Wallace, P, 27
Innings Pitched: Jordan Wallace, P, 186
Strikeouts: Jordan Wallace, P, 167
Saves: Jordan Wallace, P, 2

Madness 2013 NPF Draft Rankings:
#20 Nerissa Myers

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#88 Sara Corbello


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