UL Softball Faces Arizona In Super Regional
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun softball team opens up NCAA Super Regional action tonight, when they play host to the Arizona Wildcats in the opening game of a best-of-three game series at Lamson Park.
Louisiana, the #6-overall national seed, advanced to Super Regional play for the third-consecutive year, including the fourth time in the last five years, and the fifth time in the last seven years, by defeating the Texas Longhorns, 10-1, in the championship game of the Lafayette, La. NCAA Softball Regional last weekend.
The Cajuns are one of only seven teams that have qualified for the last three Super Regionals, joining Oklahoma, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Tennessee, and Alabama.
Arizona, the #11-overall national seed, has won eight national championships, and will head to Lafayette after winning the Tucson, Arizona Regional over the weekend, defeating LSU in the final game, 13-5.
The Cajuns, who will be hosting their first-ever Super Regional series, have won 39 of their last 42 games, and will go into the series with an overall record of 47-8-1, while the Wildcats are currently 43-14.
The best-of-three series will feature the top home run teams in the nation, with Arizona leading the way with 106, while Louisiana has 86
Arizona leads the all-time series, 19-3, but Louisiana is 2-2 against the Wildcats during the postseason.
Offensively, the Cajuns are currently hitting a .308 as a team, which led the Sun Belt Conference, along with 85 home runs, which was also tops in the league, 342 RBI’s, and 45 stolen bases.
Louisiana is led by senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who led the Sun Belt Conference in hitting (.434) and on-base percentage (.540), and sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, who is hitting a .388, while finishing as the league-leader in both home runs, with 20, and runs batted in, with 70.
The Cajuns also boast freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden, who finished tied-second in the conference in both home runs (15) and RBI’s (53), while hitting a .337, along with senior outfielder Shelbi Redfearn, who has 15 homers and 47 RBI's, to go along with a .3-4 batting average.
The Wildcats are hitting a .355 as a team, along with 106 home runs, 423 RBI’s, and 23 stolen bases.
Offensively, Arizona is paced by senior designated player Kelsey Rodriguez, who is hitting a .431 with nine home runs 46 runs batted in, to go along with a .519 on-base percentage, as well as junior first baseman Hallie Wilson, who is batting a .414 with 16 homers and 61 RBI’s.
The biggest power threat for the Longhorns is junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre, who is hitting a .337, along with a team-high 22 home runs and 72 runs batted in, in a line-up that features five players with double-digit hme runs.
Speaking of power, these are the top two power teams in the country, in terms of home runs.
Pitching-wise, Louisiana brings a an overall team ERA. of 2.81 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 27-2, with a 1.53 ERA., while junior right-hander Jordan Wallace is 14-3, with a 4.04 ERA.
Hamilton has won 24 of her last 25 decisions.
Arizona features senior right-hander Estela Pinon, who is 19-8 on the season, along with a 2.93 earned run average, while striking out 138 batters in 160.1 innings, along with senior right-hander Kenzie Fowler (8-6, 3.38) and senior right-hander Shelby Babcock (6-0, 5.42).
The first game is scheduled for Friday evening at 8 pm, with game two slated for Saturday afternoon, at 2 o’clock.
If necessary, a third and decisive game would be played on Saturday, approximately 45 minutes following the 2 pm game.
You can hear all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420 & espn1420.com, beginning with the pre-game show, 20 minutes prior to first-pitch.