UL Softball Weekly Review – April 24
The 18th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team continued their recent dominance over the weekend, sweeping a three-game set from the Georgia St. Panthers at Lamson Park.
Louisiana won the first game, 19-4, before capturing the second game, 7-1, and then completed the sweep with a 14-6 victory in the third game.
The win extended the Cajuns’ current win streak to four games, and their home win streak to 10 games, while giving them 19 wins in their last 20 games, and 26 in their last 28.
UL has also now won 23 of their last 24 conference games, dating back to last season.
The series triumph also pushed Louisiana’s conference series win streak to 35, a school and Sun Belt Conference record.
The Cajuns haven’t lost a league series since 2013, when they dropped 2-of-3 to South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.
Louisiana is now 36-6, overall, and 17-1 in league play.
The Cajuns now have a 5-game in the loss column over Texas St., and can clinch another regular season conference crown next weekend.
The first thing that comes to mind from the weekend is that Louisiana hit the ball. They outscored Georgia St., 40-11, while smashing 8 home runs.
Going even farther, if you included UL's 11-9 over Texas A&M on Wednesday night, they scored 51 runs in 4 games.
Understand, this was against the 4th-ranked team in the country, on the road, and a team that entered last weekend in second place in the Sun Belt Conference standings.
To say that's impressive would be an understatement.
The top part of the order produced for Louisiana over the weekend, with Kara Gremillion, Haley Hayden, and Aleah Craighton going a combined 13-for-24 with 5 homers, 22 runs scored, and 15 runs batted in.
Sanders homered three times over the weekend, and four times this week, giving her 11 long balls in the month of April.
Sanders now has 27 home runs on the season, the third most in a single season in UL softball history, to go along with 70 runs batted in.
Make no mistake folks, you're witnessing one of the best seasons by a Cajun softball player, ever.
Hayden just continues to hammer the softball. She's hitting over a .500 for the month, with 7 homers.
Teams will continue to pitch around Sanders, but Hayden is providing superb protection.
You can't expect Gremillion, Sanders, and Hayden to be that productive every week, but they've been extraordinarily good over the last month now, and a big reason the Cajuns have been the best offensive team in the nation.
Gremillion, Sanders, and Hayden, set the tables for the #4 and #5 hitters; Aleah Craighton and Lexie Comeaux, who drove home a combined 15 runs.
Craighton, in particular, was outstanding over the weekend, going 5-for-8, with 3 homers, 6 runs scored, and 8 RBI's.
Again, you want to walk Sanders? Fine. Just understand Craighton, a second team NFCA All-American a season ago, who is swinging it great right now, is not far behind.
This line-up, when it’s clicking, can be scary, and those five are a large reason why.
And let's not look past Corin Voinche, Kassidy Zeringue, and Kelli Martinez, the 7-9 hitters, who contributed 9 hits, 7 runs scored, and 6 RBI's.
Again, the Cajuns averaged about 13 runs-per-game over the weekend, and for the week, against two good teams. The game of softball just wasn’t designed for that much offense, so Louisiana is beating the game.
Pitching-wise, Alex Stewart continues to be impressive. She recorded two wins over the weekend, while also recording a save against Texas A&M. Stewart is 10-0 in league play this season, and an incredible 31-1 lifetime in Sun Belt Conference action over her great career.
Alyssa Denham gave up some runs this week, but recorded a win over Texas A&M, something very few pitchers can say.
Stewart and Denham have just been rock solid all year, and while you would have like to have seen more consistency this week, those two have been one of the best pitching tandems in the country this season, going a combined 41-5 with a 2.09 ERA.
Defensively, Louisiana allowed 4 unearned runs on Sunday, but played error-free softball in the first two games of the series, and made a couple of outstanding plays over the weekend.
An outfield assist by Craighton, a diving stop and throw out at first by Zeringue, and a nice play by Sanders, who ranged to her right, fielded a ground ball near second, before a backhanded flip to record an out, jump immediately to my mind.
And how about Gremillion at third?!?!? She practically takes away an opponents' short-game.
This area continues to get better is because the defense is developing consistency, being as good as it has been over any prolonged stretch all season.
All in all, it was another terrific weekend. Anytime you sweep a conference series, it’s an accomplishment, especially when you have the target on your backs.
Louisiana has distanced themselves from the rest of the league, and are gunning for a possible host spot in an NCAA Regional.
This team, right now, is playing as well as anybody in the country, especially offensively. Now, let’s hope it continues.
Next weekend, the Cajuns play host to Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in three-game league series at Lamson Park, to conclude their regular season home schedule.
If Louisiana continues to play the way they have been, it might not matter who they play.