UL Faces Faces Central Arkansas & Eastern Illinois On Day Two Of Louisiana Classics – Game Preview
The 9th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team continues play in the Louisiana Classics on Saturday, taking on the Central Arkansas Bears at 12:30 pm, before squaring off with the Eastern Illinois Panthers at 3 o'clock.
You can hear all the play-by-play action on ESPN 1420 & espn1420.com, beginning with the pre-game show at 12:15 pm.
Louisiana, in 35th season of softball competition, returns seven starters off of a team that went 49-10-1 in 2014, including a trip to the Women’s College World Series.
Offensively, the Cajuns hit a .302 last season, along with 90 home runs 356 runs batted in, and 45 stolen bases.
Junior catcher Lexie Elkins, a Third-Team NFCA All-American in 2014, returns to lead a powerful UL offensive attack, after batting a .388, along with 24 homers and 74 RBI’s a season ago.
In the circle, Louisiana returns senior right-hander Christina Hamilton, a Second-Team NFCA All-American last year, after going 29-4 with a 1.54 ERA., and senior right-hander Jordan Wallace, who compiled a 14-3 record last year, and a 73-14 record.
In their first game on Saturday, UL will take on Central Arkansas, members of the Southland Conference, who return seven starters from last year’s squad, which finished with a record of 25-34, good enough for a sixth place finish in the SLC.
The Bears are picked to finish fourth in the Southland Conference this year, behind McNeese St., Northwestern St., and Sam Houston St..
Last season, Central Arkansas finished the season with a 25-34 record, with a 13-13 mark in SLC play, including wins over Temple, Memphis, and Stephen F. Austin.
Offensively, the Bears hit a .266 in 2014 with 39 home runs and 239 runs batted in, along with 53 stolen bases.
Sophomore outfielder Briana Whisenhunt, a preseason All-Southland Conference honoree, led the way for Central Arkansas last season, hitting a .341, along with 21 RBI’s and 14 stolen bases, while junior outfielder Sam Forrest, who also returns this season, hit a .338 with 8 home runs and 43 RBI’s.
Last season, Central Arkansas was out-hit by the opposition, .295/.266, and out-homered by foes, 54/39, while stealing 53 bases in 67 attempts.
In the circle, the Bears returns senior right-hander Kylee Studioso, a preseason All-Southland Conference selection, who went 17-13, with a 3.20 ERA. last season, her first at Central Arkansas.
The top power threat for the Bears also returns this season, in junior catcher Jessie Taylor, who hit a .269, along with 10 homers and 49 RBI’s in 2014.
Louisiana defeated Central Arkansas last season, 5-0.
In their second game on Saturday, Louisiana will square off with Eastern Illinois, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, who return three starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s squad, which finished with a record of 38-17, good enough for a third place finish in the OVC.
The Panthers are picked to finish third in the Ohio Valley Conference this year, behind SIU-Edwardsille, Jacksonville St., Eastern Kentucky, Murray St. UT-Martin, and Tennessee Tech.
Last season, Eastern Illinois finished the season with a 38-17 record, including a 17-17 mark in OVC play.
Offensively, the Panthers hit a .273 in 2014 with 32 home runs and 195 runs batted in, along with 72 stolen bases.
Junior outfielder Jennette Isaac, a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference honoree in 2014, led the way for Eastern Illinois last season, hitting a .325, along with 15 RBI’s and 11 stolen bases, while senior catcher Hannah Cole, a second team all-conference pick, who also returns this season, hit a .331 with 6 home runs and 35 RBI’s.
Last season, Eastern Illinois was out-hit by the opposition, .273/.217, and out-homered by foes, 32/24, while stealing 72 bases in 93 attempts.
In the circle, the Panthers will have a young staff, comprising of two sophomores and four freshmen, with the only pitcher with any experience being sophomore right-hander Hannah Rachor, who tossed only 17.1 innings as a freshman.
Louisiana and Eastern will play again on Sunday afternoon, at 2 o'clock, in the Louisiana Classics finale.