Contact: Nick Ross
Date: February 20th
Location: Lake Charles, La.
Site: Cowgirl Diamond, McNeese State
Radio: KROF 960-AM
Live Stats: www.ragincajuns.com
Opponentss McNeese State (8-4)
Time: 6:00 P.M.
WHAT'S ON TAP? The 7-1 Cajuns will travel down the road to Lake Charles for a non-conference match-up with McNeese State, Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 6:00 P.M. After three neutral-site games and five straight home games, this is the first true road game for the Cajuns.
CAJUN UPDATE: The Cajuns swept the field in the 27th Annual Louisiana Classics, out scoring opponents 41-9 and going 4-0 in the tournament. The first three games of the weekend were mercy-rule shortened contests before Louisiana and Texas State engaged in a pitching duel, ending with the winning run scoring on an illegal pitch, winning it for Louisiana, 3-2. They defeated Miss. Valley State 13-2 and 16-4, and Texas 9-1 in game one.
McNEESE STATE COWGIRLS: The Cowgirls, 8-4, already have 11 games under their belts, after a season opening swing through Southern California, they returned home for the McNeese Cowgirl Classic. Pitching is key for the Cowgirls, as three of their four pitchers have ERA's at or below 1.00, including starters Meagan Bond (3-2, 0.69) and Jamie Allred (3-1, 0.88). They boast a team ERA of 0.97 and have 70 strikeouts in 72.1 innings.
WALLACE NAMED PITCHER OF THE WEEK: For the fifth time in her career, and first time this season, sophomore pitcher Jordan Wallace was named the Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week. In three starts last week, Wallace went 3-0 with a 0.37 ERA, allowing four runs (one earned) in 19.0 innings of work. She struck out 28 and walked just five batters.
DOMINATING THE DISH: Senior catcher Sarah Draheim has been a huge presence both behind and at the plate for the Cajuns this season. She leads the team with 50 putouts, and has started every game at catcher. She is batting .500 on the season with three home runs and 11 RBI. Her home runs came against Iowa and a two-home run game against Mississippi State. Draheim batted .250 in her first three seasons.
NO WAITING FOR WALLACE: Sophomore pitcher Jordan Wallace is quickly building on what was a record breaking freshman season, racking up five wins in her first five starts of the season. She holds a 5-0 record with a 0.50 ERA (2 er, 28.0 ip). Wallace has 42 strikeouts and just six walks while allowing 18 hits.
SINGLING OUT FERNANDEZ: Third baseman Natalie Fernandez led the Ragin' Cajun squad with 75 hits and a .436 average last season. All of the 75 hits were singles. Thus far in 2013 she has gone 9-for-25 with nine singles. In her career, Fernandez has 119 hits, including 118 singles and one double. Her only extra base hit came on February 12, 2011 as her last 116 hits have been singles.
TAKING SOME HAACKS: Senior Matte Haack went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double on Feb. 13, against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. She also drove in a career-high five runs and now has nine RBI on the season. Haack drove in 56 runs with nine home runs as a junior.
NO SENIOR SLIDE: The five seniors, Brianna Cherry, Sarah Draheim, Matte Haack, Nerissa Myers and Megan Waterman combine for a .404 batting average (38-for-94), with 44 runs scored, 40 RBI and eight home runs. In the first seven games, all five of the seniors had at least one home run, and combined for a slugging percentage of .768.
FRESHMAN FIREPOWER: With home runs in back-to-back games against Iowa and Mississippi State (Feb. 10 & Feb. 13), freshman Shellie Landry has found her power stride at the plate. In eight games, she has batted .423 (11-for-26) with a two home runs and two doubles and is slugging .731.
WATERMAN OFF THE WALL: In just her fourth career at-bat, senior Megan Waterman doubled off the left field wall, missing a home run by mere feet on Friday, February 15. On Saturday, February 16th she would get another pinch hitting opportunity, this time clearing the wall for her first career home run. She is 2-for-2 with a slugging percentage of 3.000 in 2013.
HOW DO THEY RANK? Louisiana is ranked 12th in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches and the ESPN.com/USA Softball polls released on February 19th, up three spots from last weekend. The Cajuns started the season ranked 11th, before falling to 15th last week.
DEFENDING CHAMPS: Louisiana will attempt to defend their throne at the top of the Sun Belt Conference, a spot they have held in 11 of the past 12 seasons, including five straight. They will also attempt to extend a streak of 14 straight NCAA Regional tournament berths.
ALL SUN BELT: Six Cajun's were named to the preseason All-Sun Belt Conference team, the most of any team in the conference. Nerissa Myers, Brianna Cherry, Matte Haack and Sarah Draheim were among the seniors on the team, along with junior Natalie Fernandez and sophomore pitcher Jordan Wallace. Myers and Wallace were both named preseason Player and Pitcher of the year, respectively.
ATTENDANCE AUTHORITIES: Lamson Park has held the highest attendance in the Sun Belt conference for the past 13 seasons, and set school records last season with an average attendance of 1,287, for 29,171 all season. Lamson Park has held 4066 fans this season after five games, averaging 813 a game.
SOLID COMPETITION: The Cajuns will face nine teams that were either ranked in the top 25 or received votes in NCAA polls, including ESPN.com number one, Oklahoma (April 3rd). Of the 14 teams ranked above the Cajuns, three are still on the Cajuns' schedule, #1/2 Oklahoma, #6 Texas, #9/10 Texas A&M.
WHO'S AT SHORTSTOP? Senior Nerissa Myers has started 178 games straight and 184 of the last 187 games at shortstop. The only player to start a game at shortstop for the Cajuns since 2009 was current head coach, Megan Granger. Myers has a career .943 fielding percentage, making 246 putouts with 335 assists and just 35 errors.
LEADING OFF: Nerissa Myers sent the fifth pitch of the Cajuns' first at-bat over the left field wall on Saturday, Feb. 9 for an opposite field, lead-off home run to put the Cajuns on the board early. It was the first time this millennium that the Cajuns led the season off with a home run.
HAVE MERCY: The Cajuns have won all but three games this season by way of the NCAA 8-run mercy rule, out scoring opponents 76-25. They have seen the seventh inning just three times, and won three games in the fifth inning.
CLEARING THE BENCH: 28 different players have seen time at the plate or on the base paths this season for the Cajuns. In all of 2012, just 12 players saw action in the field, not including pitchers.