UL’s Ellyson remains cool in the circle

Summer Ellyson tries to remain cool and calm inside the circle.

The University of Louisiana redshirt junior pitcher tries to never allow herself to get too worked up, or for that matter too down, whether that is giving up a two-run double or striking out the side. 

No matter what the circumstance, Ellyson always tries to maintain an even keel approach to pitching.

“I try to stay pretty much stress free,” Ellyson said. “I don’t let things get to me and I just go out there and play. I try not to be tight because I know that my energy leads the team,” Ellyson added. “They feed off of what I do so if I go out and stress out then they will go out there and stress out.”

The cool demeanor has helped Ellyson become of the most dominant pitchers in Ragin’ Cajun history. 

The former Tuerlings Catholic star enters Friday’s NCAA Regional in Oxford with a 37-4 overall record, a 0.98 ERA, 249.1 innings pitched, 324 strikeouts. Ellyson earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors this season, and was named the SBC Pitcher of the Year.

Ellyson’s 37 wins are the second most in a single season in Ragin’ Cajun history — and also leads the nation.

“I think she has a better mental understanding of the game,” UL second-year head coach Gerry Glasco said. “Mentally she is a lot stronger on the mound. She is very resilient and very intelligent and she understands how to change speeds now. She understand how and when to follow a drop ball with a rise ball and a rise ball with a drop ball and why this works.

“She has more swagger and confidence,” Glasco added. “Last year she was hoping she was good enough and right now she knows she is good.”

Ellyson’s improvement from 2018 is even more impressive considering that she earned first-team SBC honors last season after going 23-10 with 1.53 ERA in her first year as a full-time starter. 

Ellyson credits Ragin’ Cajuns Pitching Coach Mike Roberts, who arrived from Buffalo last fall, in her development in the circle. 

“All I have to do is trust Coach Rob,” Ellyson said. “He is the one that works with me and he knows what the opposing team’s hitters are like. He is going to call pitches. He is going to know what their hitters and what there tendencies are. 

“I don’t have to get too much in my head,” Ellyson said. “I just have to focus on my mechanics, my skill set and everything like that.”

Ellyson also credits her teammates, and their improved performance inside the batter’s box this season, for giving her more confidence.

In 2018, UL batted .286 with 69 doubles and only 23 home runs. This season, UL is batting .338 with 86 doubles and 57 home runs. 

“It gives me a little more cushion because if I go out there and if I mess up I know they will come out and have my back,” Ellyson said. “In the conference tournament we came back in two of those three games. As soon as they scored I knew that our team was going to come right back.”

The Ragin’ Cajuns, which are making its 21st consecutive NCAA appearance, will look to advance to a NCAA Super Regional for the first time since 2016 as the team takes part in the Oxford Regional this weekend. UL (50-4) faces Southeast Missouri (45-16) at 3:30 p.m. today in the opening round of the regional.

“We are just focused on what we need to be focused on right now and that is play how we know how to play,” Ellyson said. “We are just playing for the love of the game and not get too much in our heads about it. We have been good all year. We know what to do and how to play.”