UL Softball Beats Texas A&M, 9-8, Advances To Super Regionals
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun softball team won the Lafayette, La. NCAA Regional on Sunday, defeating the Texas A&M Aggies, 9-8, in 9 innings, on Championship Sunday at Lamson Park.
The Cajuns, in one of the more dramatic games of the year, and in their postseason history, scored two runs in the top half of the 7th inning, and the game-winner in the top half of the 9th, to help them to the triumph, and the championship, in a game that saw 5 lead changes.
Louisiana, the top-seed, who was hosting a regional for the 12th time in program history, will now move on to an NCAA Super Regional for a 5th-consecutive year, including the 7th time in the last 9 years, where they will take on the #3-overall National Seed Oklahoma Sooners next weekend in Norman, Oklahoma.
With the win, the Cajuns, making their 18th-consecutive regional appearance, extended their winning streak at Lamson Park to 23-straight games, including 24 wins in 25 tries.
UL has now won the last four regionals that they have hosted at Lamson Park, winning in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Louisiana got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run in the top half of the first inning, when senior catcher Lexie Elkins crushed a two-out solo home run, her 18th of the season, giving them a quick 1-0 lead.
Texas A&M tied it in the bottom half of the first inning, scoring one run, when Ashley Walters delivered a clutch two-out double, scoring Keeli Milligan, to make the score 1-1.
The Aggies grabbed the lead in the bottom half of the second inning, scoring a run on two hits, when Cali Lanphear doubled, and later scored on a one-out single off the bat of Riley Sartain, to take a 2-1 advantage.
The Cajuns took the lead back in the top half of the third inning, scoring 4 times, all with two outs, on three hits, including a run-scoring single by freshman shortstop D.J. Sanders, and 3-run homer by senior designated player Sara Corbello, her 12th of the season, to take a 5-2 lead.
Louisiana extended their lead in the top half of the fourth inning, when senior first baseman Kelsey Vincent lifted a sacrifice-fly, scoring sophomore right-fielder Kelli Martinez, to widen their advantage to 6-2.
Texas A&M tied the game in the bottom half of the fourth inning, plating four runs, including two unearned runs, two coming courtesy of a two-run homer by Kaitlyn Alderink, to even the score, 6-6.
The Aggies took the lead for the first time since the second inning in the bottom half of the 5th inning, when pitcher Samantha Show lifted a solo homer, to give them a 7-6 advantage, before Alderink drove home Milligan with a two-out single, to make it 8-6.
The Cajuns came back to tie it in the top half of the 7th inning, when sophomore centerfielder Aleah Craighton hit a one-out double, before Sanders smashed a long 2-run homer to centerfield, to even the score, 8-8.
Louisiana scored to go-ahead, and eventual game-winning run in the top half of the 9th inning, when Craighton clobbered a solo home run, her 18th of the season, and the 4th of the game for UL, as they took a 9-8 lead.
Texas A&M failed to score in the bottom half of the 7th inning, going three up and three down, as the Cajuns hung on for the dramatic 9-8 in.
Louisiana, who outhit Texas A&M, 16-13, was led at the plate by Elkins, Corbello, Sanders, and Craighton, who all homered, while Sanders went 4-for-5, to go along with a homer and three runs batted in.
Junior right-hander Alex Stewart (29-4) recorded the win for the Cajuns, allowing 8 runs, including 6 earned, on 13 hits, while walking three striking out 10.
Samantha Show (23-10) suffered the loss for the Aggies, allowing 9 runs on 16 hits in 8-plus innings of work.
With the victory, Louisiana improved to 46-7 on the season, while Texas A&M dropped to 39-20.
The Cajuns, who will be trying to advance to the 2016 Women's College World Series when they take on Oklahoma next weekend, will be looking for their 7th appearance, all-time, in the WCWS, and their first since 2014. The schedule for Norman is below:
Game 1: Louisiana vs. Oklahoma, 8 p.m.
Friday, May 27
Game 2: Oklahoma vs. Louisiana, 6 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary): Louisiana vs. Oklahoma, 9 p.m.
The complete Lafayette, La. schedule/bracket is below:
NCAA LAFAYETTE REGIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, May 20, 2016
G1: Texas A&M defeated Texas, 5-0
G2: Louisiana defeated Boston University, 9-5
Saturday, May 21, 2016
G3: Louisiana defeated Texas, 9-1
G4: Texas A&M defeated Boston U., 6-0 (Boston U. eliminated)
G5: Texas A&M defeated Texas, 9-3 (Texas eliminated)
Sunday, May 22, 2016
G6: Louisiana defeated Texas AM, 9-8 (9 innings) (Texas A&M eliminated)