UL Softball Faces South Alabama In Sun Belt Conference Tournament
The 12th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun softball team returns to action on Friday afternoon, taking on the 21st-ranked South Alabama Jaguars, in a winners bracket game in the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Championship at Lamson Park.
The winner advances to play in the championship game on Saturday, while the loser has to turn right back around and play in an elimination game against the winner of the WKU/ULM match-up at 5.
Louisiana, who advanced by defeating WKU, 5-3, on Thursday, is currently 42-7-1 on the season. The Cajuns have won 13-consecutive games, and 34 of their last 36 games.
UL won the game on one of the more memorable moments in recent history at Lamson Park, as sophomore outfielder Shellie Landry belted a walk-off grand slam home run in the bottom half of the seventh innings to keep the Cajuns in the winners bracket.
South Alabama, who defeated ULM, 8-1, on Thursday, is currently 39-11 on the season.
Offensively, the Cajuns are currently hitting a .307 as a team, which leads the Sun Belt Conference, along with 75 home runs, which also leads the league, 304 RBI’s, and 40 stolen bases.
Louisiana is led by senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who leads the conference in hitting (.451) and on-base percentage (.551), and sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, who is hitting a .395, while leading the league in both home runs, with 17, and runs batted in, with 65.
The Cajuns also boost freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden, who is second in the conference in both home runs (14) and RBI’s (50), while hitting a .341.
The Jaguars are hitting a .265 as a team, which ranks sixth in the conference, along with 27 home runs, 191 RBI’s, and 62 stolen bases.
Offensively, South Alabama is paced by sophomore outfielder Stephanie Pilkington, who is hitting a .313 with 24 runs batted in and six stolen bases, and freshman first baseman Chloe Rathburn, who is batting a .296 with six home runs and 30 RBI’s.
Pitching-wise, Louisiana brings a an overall team ERA. of 2.82 into the game, which ranks second in the league. Junior right-hander Christina Hamilton, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year, is currently riding a personal 20-game win streak and is 23-1, with a 1.48 ERA., which is good enough for third in the league, while junior right-hander Jordan Wallace is 14-3, with a 3.91 ERA.
South Alabama, who features one of the top pitching tandems in the nation, brings a combined team ERA. of 1.23 into the series, which ranks first in the league. Senior left-hander Hannah Campbell is 16-5 with an 0.94 ERA, while junior right-hander Farish Beard is 21-5 with a 1.04 ERA. That duo ranks first and second, respectively, in the conference in ERA.
Louisiana defeated South Alabama in two of the three games they faced each other earlier this season, winning by scores 6-2 and 5-1, while suffering an 8-4 setback.
First-pitch is scheduled for 2 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 1:45 pm.