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Cajuns' new pitching duo raises the bar

Louisiana boasts two All-American pitchers
Posted at 10:23 PM, Jan 28, 2020

LAFAYETTE — Ahead of the 2019 season, Gerry Glasco landed an array a big name transfers. But one wouldn't arrive in Lafayette until 2020, All-American pitcher Megan Kleist.

That year is here and one of the happiest Cajuns to have her is senior pitcher Summer Ellyson.

"There is always going to be fatigue. I threw 50-some games last year. You're going to be tired," said Ellyson with a smile.

Summer's 272 innings was second most among college softball pitchers last year. Only Florida's Kelly Barnhill threw more, and the Gators played nine more games than Louisiana. The 2019 Cajuns were hamstrung by Summer's ability to pitch late in every game, and I mean EVERY game. She admitted Tuesday that she was tired. Something that shouldn't happen this season.

Megan Kleist joins Louisiana from Oregon. She's a two time All-American who's throw three no-hitters. She recorded a 1.60 earned run average in three season with the Ducks.

"When you look at most big colleges, Oklahoma, Florida, all the teams that make it to the world series like Washington have two pitchers," said Ellyson. "You work together. It's a relief not to do it by myself, It's even more of a relief to have her."

"She has this mentality where she is confident and competitive and I love being on the field with her," said catcher Julie Rawls. "She doesn't want anyone to get a hit on her, ever. She wants to be perfect 24/7. She works so hard in the bullpen. Each of her bullpens are perfect and it makes me want to work harder. I think she's a great asset to this team."

Ellyson and Kleist have a combined 122-34 career record, with a 1.48 ERA. The two have combined to strikeout 1,072 batters and earned three All-American statuses.

Louisiana opens the season Friday, February 4.