UL Softball Takes On Texas In Second Day Of Lafayette, La. NCAA Softball Regional
The 11th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team will take on the Texas Longhorns in a winners bracket game on Saturday in the second day of play in the Lafayette, La. NCAA Softball Regional at Lamson Park.
Louisiana, who defeated Texas Southern, 7-4, in the first day of the regional on Friday, won the regular season Sun Belt Conference title, as well as the postseason tournament, and heads into the match-up at 45-8-1 on the year.
The Cajuns, who are the #6-overall national seed, have won 37 of their final 40 games.
Louisiana, who is a national seed for the first time in program history, is appearing in their 24th regional in the last 25 years.
Texas, who advanced into the winners bracket by defeating Mississippi St., 1-0, on Friday, is currently 34-21 on the season.
Offensively, the Cajuns are currently hitting a .307 as a team, which led the Sun Belt Conference, along with 81 home runs, which was also tops in the league, 329 RBI’s, and 44 stolen bases.
Louisiana is led by senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who led the Sun Belt Conference in hitting (.435) and on-base percentage (.537), and sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, who is hitting a .390, while finishing as the league-leader in both home runs, with 18, and runs batted in, with 68.
The Cajuns also boast freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden, who finished second in the conference in both home runs (15) and RBI’s (53), while hitting a .339.
The Longhorns are hitting a .341 as a team, along with 45 home runs, 297 RBI’s, and 80 stolen bases.
Offensively, Texas is paced by senior outfielder Brejae Washington, who is hitting a .434 with 18 runs batted in, to go along with a .515 on-base percentage, and 32 stolen bases, as well as senior shortstop Taylor Thom, who is batting a .381 with 9 homers and 42 RBI's.
The biggest power threat for the Longhorns is sophomore Lindsey Stephens, who is hitting a .373, along with a team-high 15 home runs and 62 runs batted in.
Texas has nine regular to semi-regular players that are hitting a .300, or better.
Pitching-wise, Louisiana brings a an overall team ERA. of 2.86 into the game, which ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference. Junior right-hander Christina Hamilton, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, is currently 25-2, with a 1.57 ERA., while junior right-hander Jordan Wallace is 14-3, with a 4.04 ERA.
Texas features freshman left-hander Tiarra Davis, who is 19-12 on the season, along with a 2.27 earned run average, while striking out 169 batters in 191.1 innings, as well as junior right-hander Gabby Smith (13-4, 2.76).
Texas, who defeated Louisiana twice earlier this season, winning by scores of 10-7 and 7-3, has won five-straight, and leads the all-time series, 10-2.
The Cajuns eliminated the Longhorns from the 2011 Austin, Texas Regional, winning 5-3 in the last postseason match-up between the two schools
The winner will move on to the championship round on Sunday, while the loser will have to play an elimination game against the Texas Southern/Mississippi St. winner at 6 o'clock on Saturday evening.
First-pitch is scheduled for 12 noon.
The winner of Saturday's first game has gone on to win every regional in which Louisiana has been involved in since the Super Regional format began back in 2005.
Even more interesting, since that format began, the winner of the regional in which the Cajuns have been involved in has never had to play an "if necessary" game on Sunday.
You can hear all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420 & espn1420.com beginning with the pre-game show at 5:40 pm.
View more information on the Lafayette, La. Regional here.
View the complete NCAA Tournament bracket here.