By: Nick Ross
LAFAYETTE, La. – The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball program has a new strikeout record for seven-inning games. Sophomore Jordan Wallace struck out 18 batters, in seven shutout innings, leading the Cajuns to a 6-0 victory, and a series sweep of Middle Tennessee on Sunday, April 14, at Lamson Park. The Cajuns have now won their last 12 games, and improved to 30-11 overall and 11-4 in conference play.
"With this group it is day-to-day and practice to practice," Head Coach Michael Lotief said. "Every time they get out on that field they are learning and growing. We have a lot of things we can still work on. Things we must get better at and make improvements. The finish line is right there, and we have a sense of urgency."
Wallace was seemingly unhittable in the circle, striking out 18 of a possible 21 outs, and striking out the side in five innings. She allowed a hit to lead off the second, a runner on by an error in the fourth and a walk in the sixth, never allowing a runner past first base.
"I felt good." Wallace said of her 18-strikeout performance. "My changeup was working and we fixed a lot of things with my feet and my mechanics. We looked at what I did against Southern [Miss.] and fixed that."
It was the 31st time in NCAA Division-I history that a pitcher fanned 18-or-more batters in a seven-inning game and the first time since May 3, 2009, when Danielle Lawrie of Washington did so against Oregon.
Wallace struck out the side in the first inning, and the Cajuns got the only run they needed in the bottom of the first. Samantha Walsh hit an RBI single, driving in Nerissa Myers for a 1-0 lead. It was the 25th time the Cajuns have scored in the first inning this season, and they are now 20-5 when doing so.
They added four runs in the third inning, starting with a Sarah Draheim single and a throwing error to score Nerissa Myers and Brianna Cherry. Matte Haack followed that up with an RBI double, scoring Draheim to make it 4-0. Two batters later, Sara Corbello singled in Haack to make it 5-0.
The Cajuns went scoreless in the fourth and fifth, before Nerissa Myers reached first on an error, scoring Leandra Maly.
They scattered 10 hits round the batting order in the game. Only Myers had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Walsh, Draheim, Matte Haack, and Corbello all picked up an RBI and a hit in the game.
"We are taking hacks and taking more chances, not playing scared," Wallace said of the team's recent success. "The girls are fighting every pitch."
Wallace has been a rock in circle for the Cajuns during their 12 game winning streak. She has struck out 113 batters in 60 innings pitched and a 0.35 ERA. She has not allowed a run in her last 33 innings.
The Cajuns will finish up their seven-game homestand on Wednesday, April 17 when Houston comes to town for a non-conference matchup. The Cajuns opened the season at the Houston Hilton Invitational, but did not face the Cougars while there. First pitch is slated for 4:00 P.M. at Lamson Park. The Cajuns return to SBC play for the first of the three final series, traveling to Boca Raton, Fla, for a series with Florida Atlantic.