WKU taking on No. 12 Ragin’ Cajuns this weekend

Sophomore infielder Olivia Watkins gets an out at second base and tries to turn a double play against MTSU Wednesday at the WKU Softball Complex. WKU lost 8-4.

Hasani Grayson

On paper, the matchup between WKU and Louisiana-Lafayette may seem like a mismatch.

But Lady Topper players and coaches think they could take some games in their home series this weekend against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

The Ragin’ Cajuns are currently first in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 12 nationally.

ULL has hit .350 this season, outscoring opponents 374-103 on the year.

With all the Ragin’ Cajuns’ team strengths, Head Coach Tyra Perry said that the WKU scouting report won’t focus on any one player or area of the team in particular.

“We just address the team as a whole,” she said.

After getting a doubleheader split at home against Lipscomb, sophomore outfielder Kelsie Mattox said that WKU players think the Ragin’ Cajuns can be beat.

“They’re coming to us, so we want to take care of home field and play a good game,” Mattox said. “They are beatable. They have lost two in the conference, so why not us take another two, if not the whole series, from them? We can do it.”

 Mattox added that the Lady Toppers are taking a “business as usual” approach.

Junior catcher Karavin Dew said that in order to play the game how they want to, they need to look for good pitches to hit early in the count.

“We’re going to have to be aggressive against them in order to play our game,” she said. “Their pitcher likes to come out strong in the beginning, so that’s when we need to hit.”

ULL pitching has been just as dominant as their hitting, with Ragin’ Cajun pitchers holding opposing batters to a .196 batting average this season. Their pitchers also have a collective ERA of 2.26 this season, a few points better than WKU’s 2.79 ERA.

Though ULL has just two losses, some teams have been able to keep things close with the Ragin’ Cajuns.

ULL was held to one-run league victories on April 15 against Middle Tennssee State (4-3), April 6 against South Alabama (1-0), and twice on March 10 against North Texas (7-6 and 5-4).

“Numerous teams in the conference have played them close,” Perry said. “So there are a couple of things there. If you don’t fear them and just play ball, you have a chance to win.”

Perry added that her team won’t fear the Ragin’ Cajuns as much since WKU faced strong opponents during the non-conference portion of its season, including No. 16 Arizona.

“I don’t think we’re intimated by anybody,” she said. “That’s why we played Arizona and those guys early on in the season.”

Perry also said that Lipscomb, with whom WKU split a Wednesday doubleheader, provided a good test, as the Bisons are ranked No. 67 in RPI.

Perry said she hopes competition against teams like Arizona and Lipscomb will have prepared them for a challenging Sun Belt team like Louisiana-Lafayette.

The Lady Toppers are currently 1-2 on what will be a seven-game home stand.

Sophomore pitcher Emily Rousseau said that WKU has a good idea of what they need to work on in practice in order to be ready for the series.

“We found out a couple of things we need to work on in practice that we’re going to get after,” she said. “We’re going to get them fixed so we can go into this (ULL) conference game tough and ready.”