UL Softball Takes On Texas Southern In First Day Of Regional Play
The 11th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team will take on the Texas Southern Tigers in the opening day of play in the Lafayette, La. NCAA Softball Regional on Friday evening at Lamson Park.
Louisiana, who won the regular season Sun Belt Conference title, as well as the postseason tournament, will come into the match-up at 44-8-1 on the year.
The Cajuns, who are the #6-overall national seed, finished the season winning 36 of their final 39 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 Southern, who qualified for their very first NCAA regional by winning the postseason SWAC Tournament, is 31-18 on the season.
Offensively, the Cajuns are currently hitting a .307 as a team, which led the Sun Belt Conference, along with 79 home runs, which was also tops in the league, 323 RBI’s, and 43 stolen bases.
Louisiana is led by senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who led the Sun Belt Conference in hitting (.437) and on-base percentage (.538), and sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, who is hitting a .399, 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 Tigers are hitting a .340 as a team, along with 21 home runs, 312 RBI’s, and 71 stolen bases.
Offensively, Texas Southern is paced by junior Chelsea Guenther, who is hitting a .471 with 40 runs batted in, to go along with a .538 on-base percentage, and senior Princess Daniels, who is batting a .463 with 11 stolen bases.
Texas Southern has six regulars that are hitting a .387, 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 24-2, with a 1.55 ERA., while junior right-hander Jordan Wallace is 14-3, with a 3.91 ERA.
Texas Southern features three pitchers, including junior Samantha Jimenez (7-4, 3.08), junior Jeniece Tillman (5-3, 3.36), and sophomore Madison Staton (11-6, 3.67), for an overall combined ERA. of 3.82.
Louisiana defeated Texas Southern the only two times they faced them previously, back in 2004.
The winner will face the Texas/Mississippi St. winner on Saturday at noon, while the loser will have to face the Texas/Mississippi St. loser in an elimination game on Saturday at 3 o'clock.
First-pitch is scheduled for 6 o’clock.
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.