UL Softball Wins SBC Tournament With Victory Over South Alabama
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns are once again Sun Belt Conference Tournament champions.
Top-seeded Louisiana defeated the 4th-seeded South Alabama Jaguars, 15-3, in five-inning mercy-rule fashion, in the title game of the Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship in Troy, Alabama, capturing their 16th tournament championship in the process.
14th-ranked Louisiana, who has now won the event 16 times in the 21 years of completed play, defeated South Alabama in the finals of the Sun Belt Conference Postseason Tournament in 2014 (4-1), while falling to the Jaguars in the finals in 2012 (3-1) and 2015 (2-0).
The Cajuns, who have now won 28 of their last 32 games, reached the 40-win mark this year for the 22nd-consecutive season.
UL, who is now 65-9 in the event's history has appeared in the last seven championship games while winning the last two championships.
The Cajuns have now all five games that they've played against South Alabama this year, after sweeping a three-game series against the Jaguars during the regular season, as well as a 10-3 victory over South Alabama on Thursday.
With the victory, Louisiana receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals, which begin next week.
The Cajuns have now qualified for their 23rd-consecutive NCAA Regional appearance, including their 30th in the last 31 years, excluding 2020, when there was no postseason.
The only year since 1990 in which Louisiana failed to appear in a regional was 1998.
UL is one of only nine programs to appear in an NCAA Regional every year since 2000, joining Alabama, Arizona, Florida St., Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA, and Washington.
Louisiana got on the scoreboard first, scoring five runs on four hits in the top half of the first inning, including a two-run single by Kendall Talley, as well as a three-run double off the bat of Jade Gortarez, which gave them a quick 5-0 lead.
South Alabama scored its first run in the bottom half of the second inning when Abby Allen launched a solo home run, her second of the season, which cut the deficit to 5-1.
The Cajuns put the game away in the top half of the third inning, scoring six runs on three two-run homers, including one by Alissa Dalton, her fourth of the season, one from Sophie Piskos, her third, and one off the bat of Bailey Curry, her fifth of the season, which made it 11-1.
UL added some insurance runs in the top half of the fourth inning, scoring four more times on four more hits, including a three-run homer by Melissa Mayeux, which gave them a commanding 15-1 lead.
The Jaguars scored two runs, including one unearned run in the bottom half of the fourth inning, to make it 15-3.
That was far too little and far too late, however, as the Cajuns cruised to the 15-3, five-inning, mercy-rule triumph.
Louisiana, who outhit South Alabama, 15-5, was led at the plate by Curry, Dalton, Piskos, and Mayeux, who all homered, along with Gortarez, who drove home five runs.
In a losing cause for South Alabama, Allen homered.
Summer Ellyson (23-6) recorded the win in the circle for the Cajuns, allowing three runs on five hits over 4-plus innings.
For Ellyson, it was her 96th career victory as a Cajun.
Jenna Hardy (4-3) suffered the loss for the Jaguars, allowing five runs on four hits over 1.0 inning of work.
With the victory, Louisiana improved to 44-10 on the season, while South Alabama dropped 39-12.
The Cajuns now await to hear which regional they will be playing in next week.
NCAA Regional pairings will be announced on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. (central).