UL senior outfielder Brianna Cherry

 

The 12th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajun softball team won two games on Saturday in the 17th Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Florida, defeating Illinois St., 8-5, before downing Hofstra, 4-2.

In the first game, Illinois St. jumped out on top early, as leadoff hitter Jhavon Hamilton hit the first pitch of the game over the right-field fence, giving the Redbirds a 1-0 lead.

Louisiana took the lead in the second, scoring four runs on five hits, including RBI singles by Natalie Fernandez and Sarah Draheim, giving the Cajuns a 4-1 advantage.

The Redbirds wrestled the lead back in the fourth inning, courtesy of a grand slam home run by Laura Canopy, maing it 5-4, Illinois St.

The Cajuns got a solo home run by Matte Haack in their half of the fourth, to knot it up, 5-5, before scoring three times in the fifth, including a two-run homer by Brianna Cherry, making it 8-5, a lead they would never relinquish.

Jordan Wallace (7-1) recorded the win, while Erin Rodriguez (1-1) suffered the loss.

The win pushed Louisiana to 10-2 overall, while Illinois St. fell to 6-8.

View the Louisiana/Illinois St. game box score.

In their second game of the day, the Cajuns jumped on Hofstra All-American pitcher Olivia Galati early, as Cherry belted a solo home run in the top half of the first, her third of the tournament, giving them a 1-0 lead.

The Pride tied things up in the second, when Maggie Hawkins single with one out, and then scored on a double by Erin Trippi.

Louisiana regained the lead in the fourth, when Sara Corbello singled with two out, and then scored on a two-run homer by Samantha Walsh, the first of her career, making it 3-1.

Hofstra got closer in the fourth, scoring a run to make it 3-2, but the Cajuns added an insurance run in the fifth, as Cherry and Draheim delivered back-to-back two-out doubles, giving them a 4-2 edge, one that would hold up.

Victoria Brown (2-0) picked up the win, with Kristen Martinez throwing three perfect innings of relief to record her first save, while Galati (3-4) suffered the defeat.

With the win, Louisiana moved to 11-2, while Hofstra fell to 3-5.

View the Louisiana/Hofstra box score.

The Cajuns will conclude play in the tournament on Sunday, taking on James Madison at 11:30 am (cdt).

You can catch all the play-by-play action on Sports Radio ESPN 1420, and espn1420.com, beginning with the pre-game show at 11:10 am.