UL Softball Takes On Kentucky In Opening Night Of Women’s College World Series – VIDEO
Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun softball team opens up Women’s College World Series action tonight, when they take on the Arizona Wildcats at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Louisiana, the #6-overall national seed, advanced to Women’s College World Series for the sixth time in program history, and for the first time since 2008, by winning the Lafayette, La. NCAA Super Regional last week, defeating the Arizona Wildcats in two-straight game at Lamson Park.
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.
Kentucky, the #14-overall national seed, qualified for the WCWS by winning the Lexington, Kentucky NCAA Regional, and the Los Angeles, California Super Regional last weekend, defeating UCLA in two-of-three games.
The Cajuns, who went 1-2 in their last WCWS appearance back in 2008, have won 41 of their last 44 games, and will head into the WCWS with an overall record of 49-8-1, while the Wildcats are currently 49-17.
Offensively, the Cajuns are currently hitting a .307 as a team, which led the Sun Belt Conference, along with 88 home runs, which was also tops in the league, 354 RBI’s, and 45 stolen bases.
Louisiana is led by senior second baseman Natalie Fernandez, who led the Sun Belt Conference in hitting (.423) and on-base percentage (.530), and sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins, the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, and a third-team All-American selection, who is hitting a .388, while finishing as the league-leader in both home runs, with 22, and runs batted in, with 72.
The Cajuns also boast freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden, who finished tied-second in the conference in both home runs (15) and RBI’s (55), while hitting a .333, along with senior outfielder Shelbi Redfearn, who has 15 homers and 49 RBI’s, to go along with a .309 batting average.
The Wildcats are hitting a .264 as a team, along with 67 home runs, 272 RBI’s, and 43 stolen bases.
Offensively, Kentucky is paced by senior outfielder Emily Gaines, who is hitting a .311 with six home runs 35 runs batted in, to go along with a .459 on-base percentage, as well as senior first baseman Lauren Cumbess, who is batting a .311 with nine homers and 39 RBI’s.
The biggest power threat for the Wildcats is sophomore third baseman Nikki Sagermann, who is hitting a .282, along with a team-high 13 home runs and 49 runs batted in, in a line-up that features only two players with double-digit home runs.
Pitching-wise, Louisiana brings a an overall team ERA. of 2.77 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, and a second-team All-American selection, is currently 29-2, with a 1.53 ERA., while junior right-hander Jordan Wallace is 14-3, with a 4.04 ERA.
Hamilton has won 26 of her last 27 decisions.
Kentucky features sophomore Kelsey Nunley, who is 29-9 on the season, along with a 1.85 earned run average, while striking out 202 batters in 261.1 innings, along with Cumbess, a right-hander, who pitches as well (10-1, 2.07), and freshman left-hander Meagan Prince (8-4, 3.47).
UL freshman shortstop Corin Voinche, who played her high school softball at Teurlings, said playing in the Women’s College World Series is a dream come true, especially playing for a team she grew up following.
The winner will play Friday night at 8:30 pm against the winner of the Alabama/Oklahoma game, while the losers of the respective game will meet in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon.
First-pitch is scheduled for Thursday evening at 6 pm.
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.
View the complete Women’s College World Series bracket.