UL Softball Defeats South Alabama, 6-3, Move Into SBC Title Game
The 10th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team advanced into the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament, after defeating the 22nd-ranked South Alabama Jaguars, 6-3, in San Marcos, Texas on Saturday.
For Louisiana, the regular season champion and top-seed, it's their second-consecutive victory in the event, and moves them into the finals on Saturday afternoon against the South Alabama/Georgia St. winner.
The Cajuns belted five homers to lift them to the win, setting a new school record for homers in a single season in the process.
Louisiana has now defeated South Alabama in three of the four meetings this season.
South Alabama, the second-seed, now faces Georgia St. in an elimination game, with the winner facing the Cajuns in a winner-take-all championship game.
The Jaguars scored first, plating two runs in the top half of the first inning, when Emily Messer led off the game with a single, before Stephanie Pilkington and Chloe Rathburn drew back-to-back walks, loading up the bases.
Kaitlyn Griffith was then hit by a pitch, scoring Messer, before Kristian Foster drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Pilkington.
The Cajuns avoided any further damage however, and after a half inning South Alabama led, 2-0.
Louisiana cut the deficit to one run in the bottom half of the inning, when Hayley Hayden crushed a solo home run, her 13th of the season, and the 102nd by the team, which tied a school record, trimming the South Alabama advantage to 2-1.
The Cajuns tied things in the bottom of the second, when DJ Sanders blasted a solo homer, her fourth of the season, while setting a new school record for long balls in a single season, at 103, to even the score, 2-2.
Louisiana grabbed the lead, their first of the game, in the bottom half of the fifth inning, when Lexie Elkins and Samantha Walsh hit back-to-back home runs, numbers three and four on the day for UL, giving them a 4-2 advantage.
The Cajuns added two insurance runs in the bottom half of the sixth inning, courtesy of a two-run home run shot by Sara Corbello, their fifth of the day, to widen their lead to 6-2.
The Jaguars scored a single run in the top half of the seventh inning, and brought the potential tying run to the plate, but UL hung on for the three-run victory.
For UL, it was their 50th all-time win in 57 Sun Belt Conference games.
Elkins and Walsh led the way at the plate for Louisiana, who outhit South Alabama, 9-4, both going 2-for-3, along with a home run, while Hayden, Sanders, and Corbello all homered as well.
Christina Hamilton (11-2) recorded the win in the circle for Louisiana, allowing four hits and three runs in seven innings, along with two strikeouts, while Kalen McGill (16-3) suffered the loss for South Alabama.
With the victory, Louisiana improves to 39-8 on the season, while South Alabama fell to 36-11.
Again, the Cajuns next face the South Alabama/Georgia St. on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm in the title game, a match-up that you can hear on ESPN 1420 & espn1420.com, beginning with the pregame show at 12:45 pm.