Keeli Milligan/UL Softball Are A Perfect Fit
When a college athlete transfers from one school to another, both parties are betting that it will be a good fit.
Well, I'm betting that outfielder Keeli Milligan will be a good fit for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns.
A speedy, leadoff-type of hitter, Milligan will to play for Louisiana next season, her final year in college softball, after spending three seasons at Texas A&M.
A native of Vidor, Texas, Milligan hit the collegiate scene with a bang as a freshman in 2016, hitting a .379, while setting a school record with 54 stolen bases.
For her efforts, she was named to the All-SEC Second Team and SEC All-Freshman Team, as well as being selected a top ten finalist for the Division I National Freshman of the Year award.
After a sophomore season in which she hit a .319 in 2017, Milligan hit a .307 last season for the Aggies, to go along with a .400 on-base percentage, while stealing 29 bases in 32 attempts.
Coming to UL, I think she's much more likely to put up numbers more similar to 2016 than the last two.
Yes, she was good the last two years, but I think Milligan is special, and could/should have a huge senior season.
That's not to say that she wasn't productive her last two seasons at A&M, because she was.
Even last year; Milligan posted a .307 batting average, to go along with a .400 on-base percentage and 29 steals on an SEC team. That's pretty good.
Louisiana had to face Milligan in 2016, in the Lafayette Regional, and in 2017, in a non-conference match-up. I hated trying to get her out. Now, she'll be on my side.
As a member of the Cajuns, and playing for head coach Gerry Glasco, who was the hitting coach during Milligan's freshman season at A&M, I believe her game is going to get back to what it was in her first year of college softball.
Let's say Milligan had decided to transfer to Fresno St. or Syracuse; there would have been a learning curve. She would have had to learn the coach and adjust to the new offensive philosophy,
Coming to Louisiana, she doesn't have to do that. She already knows the coach and the swing. Plus, she's only two hours from home.
As for the Cajuns, they lost two speedy outfielders who helped them win 41 games last season, in Kelli Martinez and Brittany Rodriguez. Milligan will help offset those losses, giving Louisiana speed and defense.
Louisiana used a number of players in the leadoff spot last year, including both Martinez and Rodriguez, as well as Alissa Dalton and Kara Gremillion.
They never really settled on a leadoff hitter however, as evidenced by the fact that Martinez hit leadoff in the first game of the season, and then didn't hit in that spot again until regional play.
Milligan makes the line-up better. You pencil her in the leadoff spot, allowing Gremillion to hit in the two-hole, and Dalton to drive in more runs in the three-hole.
Milligan will make both of those players better, as she will likely be on base a lot, forcing opposing pitchers to throw them more strikes, while giving Gremillion and Dalton more RBI chances.
The Cajuns finished fifth in the Sun Belt Conference as a team last season, with a .354 on-base percentage. With Milligan on the squad, and with the players returning, I'd be disappointed if they didn't finish at least second next season.
I just think Milligan will make the Louisiana offense better in so many ways. She's the type of dynamic player that can draw a walk, steal second, and later score without the benefit of a hit
Yes, she was good at Texas A&M last season, but I'm expecting even more from Milligan as a Cajun.
You know what this reminds me of? When Vanessa Soto transferred from LSU to UL for her senior season in 2008. As a junior at LSU, Soto hit a .280, to go along with three homers and 29 runs batted in, before hitting a .332, to go along with 9 homers and 67 RBI's as a senior at UL
Soto was happy, she knew 2008 would be her final year, and she was just a good fit, so she had a monster year.
That's what I'm expecting from Milligan in 2019; a monster year.
Without putting too much pressure on her, I'm expecting Milligan to hit at least a .350, to go along with a .450-ish on-base percentage and 30 stolen bases next season.
She should be an all-conference/all-region type of player, who could even get some All-American attention.
Yes, I think that highly of her.
Keeli Milligan and Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball are a perfect fit, and both will thrive because of the union.
Now, go out and make me look smart Keeli!