UL Softball Wins Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship
The 12th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team captured the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship on Saturday, defeating the 21st-ranked South Alabama Jaguars, 4-1, at Lamson Park.
The victory avenged a 4-2 loss to South Alabama on Friday, and gives Louisiana the postseason tournament crown, to go along with the regular season championship.
For the Cajuns, it's their 12th Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship, as well as the first since 2011.
Freshman outfielder Hayley Hayden gave Louisiana the lead in the top half of the first inning, blasting a solo home run to left off of South Alabama starter Farish Beard, to make it 1-0.
The Jaguars came right back in the bottom of the frame, as Blaire Johnson and Chloe Rathburn hit back-to-back two-out doubles off of UL starter Christina Hamilton, to tie the game, 1-1.
The score stayed that way until the top of the sixth, when the Cajuns used the long ball to take the lead.
Sophomore third baseman Samantha Walsh singled, before sophomore outfielder Shellie Landry followed with a single of her own.
That set the stage for senior outfielder Shelbi Redfearn, who crushed a three-run home run over the left-centerfield fence, to put Louisiana up for good, 4-1.
South Alabama had a brief reprieve in the seventh inning, as rain forced an hour delay, but the rain went away, as did the title hopes of the Jaguars, as the Cajuns hung on for the three-run win, and the tourney crown.
Landry led the way for Louisiana, offensively, with two hits, while Redfearn and Hayden homered, as UL outhit South Alabama, 7-6.
Hamilton recorded the win for the Cajuns, scattering six hits, while walking only one, en route to her 24th victory of the season, against only two defeats.
Beard was tagged with the loss for the Jaguars, allowing six hits and four runs over five innings, to fall to 21-6 on the year.
With the victory improved Louisiana, who defeated the Jaguars for the third time in five tries on the year, to 44-8-1 on the season, while South Alabama dropped to 40-12.
Hamilton, Redfearn, and Walsh were all named to the Sun Belt Conference All-Tournament team, while Elkins was named the Most Outstanding Player.
The win gives Louisiana an automatic bid into the NCAA Regionals, next week.
Regional pairings will be released on Sunday evening at 9 o'clock.