LAFAYETTE, La. – Before tonight it had only been done five times in NCAA history. The Ragin' Cajuns softball team hit five home runs, including two from freshman Shellie Landry, in a ten-run fourth inning. The Cajuns won game one by a score of 18-2 and game two by a score of 10-0 in a nonconference doubleheader against Southern Mississippi, Wednesday, April 10 at Lamson Park. They improved to 27-11 on the season and have now won their last nine games.
The fourth inning home run spree was started with Shellie Landry's second home run of the game, a solo shot to right center field. Kelsey Vincent followed that up with her second home run of the season to center field, driving in three runs. Shelbi Redfearn was third up, hitting her first home run as a member of the Ragin' Cajuns, a two-run homer to right field. Landry was fourth with her second of the inning and third of the game, another solo shot, and Gabrielle Felps capped of the inning with her first career home run, driving in two runs.
"It is good to see a lot of the returning players that didn't play last year get an opportunity to get on that field and have some fun." Coach Michael Lotief said after the game.
Landry had a career day at the plate. In the first game of the doubleheader she went 4-for-4 with three home runs, including two in the fourth inning, a single and four RBI. It was the first time since Feb. 12, 2011 when Gabrielle Bridges hit three home runs in a game for the Cajuns, and 55th time ever in the NCAA that a player hit three home runs. She also tied Danyele Gomez's UL record for total bases in a game with 13. She finished the day 5-for-8 with four RBI and five runs scored. Her home runs were numbers 9, 10, and 11 on the season, taking over the team and Sun Belt Conference lead as well as the conference lead in RBI with 45.
"Coach [Lotief] told us yesterday to keep on working and that our hard work would pay off eventually," Landry said of her big night. "I listened to him and it happened."
It was the first time in her softball career, including in high school at St. Thomas More, that she hit three home runs in a game.
"I wasn't thinking about [hitting a third]" she continued. "I was just thinking about everything I worked on at practice and everything Coach told me. I just wanted to put it in play."
Despite scoring 18 runs, the Cajuns only saw three batters have multiple hits in the game, Landry, Sarah Draheim and Sara Corbello. Draheim went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Corbello went 2-for-2 with a walk.
Jordan Wallace got the start in game one, tossing 4.0 no-hit innings, allowing just two runners on base, while striking out four. She has now tossed 19.0 consecutive shutout innings, spanning all the way back to FIU on Sunday, March 30th. She improved to 16-6 on the season and has won her past six starts.
Christina Hamilton pitched the fifth inning, allowing two runs on one hit, a home run, and picking up a strikeout.
The second game featured Matte Haack and Samantha Walsh on offense. Haack went 2-for-2 with a three-run home run, an RBI single with four RBI, and Walsh went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and an RBI double. It was Haack's 8th home run of the season and Walsh's 5th.
Haack kicked off the scoring with her home run in the first, and Walsh followed it up with her double to make it 4-0 after one.
Walsh added to the lead in the third inning with her home run to opposite field, scoring Haack.
The Cajuns continued on in the fourth inning, adding four more runs. Nerissa Myers drove in two runs with a double to right center, Sarah Draheim drove in one with a single down the right field line, and Haack topped it off with her RBI single.
Brianna Cherry also picked up two hits in the second game, going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Victoria Brown got the start in the nightcap, and picked up her seventh win of the season. She tossed 4.0 innings, allowing no runs on three hits and no walks, while striking out two batters. Kristin Martinez pitched the fifth inning, allowing just one runner on base, by way of a walk, and picked up one strikeout.
Louisiana continued their season-best nine-game winning streak, dating back to March 17 against South Alabama.
"I think we are mentally strong," Landry said of the recent surge. "Nothing is going to get in our way. We want to win the rest of the games, we don't want anything to stop us from going to the College World Series.
The Cajuns will return to Sun Belt play on Saturday, April 13 when Middle Tennessee comes to town for a three-game series. They will face off in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1:00 P.M. before a single game on Sunday at noon. They will then continue their homestand on Wednesday, when Houston comes to town for another twi-night doubleheader.