LAFAYETTE – The No. 23-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team used a six-run third inning to break free from a scoreless tie and went on to claim an 8-0 (5 inn.) win over App State on Friday, March 24 in the opening game of a Sun Belt series at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
It wound up being a fielding error by a pitcher that broke up an early pitcher’s duel and allowed Louisiana (22-9, 4-0 SBC) to spin App State (15-9, 0-2 SBC) out of control.
Knotted at 0-0 in the bottom of the third, Maddie Hayden drove a ground ball back to Mountaineers pitcher Delani Buckner whose errant throw allowed Stormy Kotzelinck and Mihyia Davis, who reached on one-out walks and stole their way into scoring position, to score and give the Ragin’ Cajuns a 2-0 advantage.
With the door cracked open, Louisiana kept the pressure on App State as Hayden stole third drawing another errant throw that allowed her to score and make it 3-0. Karly Heath then doubled and Lauren Allred walk to place runners on base again.
Before Buckner could settle the Ragin’ Cajuns back down it was a Laney Credeur RBI single, Jourdyn Campbell squeeze bunt and Sophie Piskos sac fly stretching the lead out to 6-0.
From there, Heath (4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 5 K) and Kandra Lamb (1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K) continued to shut down the Mountaineers and a solo home run from Kotzelnick and Piskos fielder’s choice grounder over the Cajuns’ final two at bats invoked the run rule.
Seven different players scored at least one run for the Ragin’ Cajuns as the squad extended its winning streak to four games and continued its undefeated start to Sun Belt play. Eight of the nine batters in the lineup reached base led by Credeur and Campbell who each tallied two base hits.
Allred’s double in the second inning extended her season-best hitting streak to nine games, Kotzelnick notched a pair of stolen bases and picked up her first home run at Lamson, while Piskos increased her team-leading RBI total in Sun Belt play to seven (7) RBI.
Heath (3-0, 2.15 ERA), who remained undefeated in the circle in her collegiate career (now 18-0), faced only one batter over the minimum her first three innings in matching Buckner on the way to posting her second combined shutout and third overall involved in this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns improved to 7-0 all-time at Lamson Park vs. App State, shutting out the Mountaineers for the fifth straight meeting in the facility (streak dates back to 2016 visit). Overall, Louisiana increased its series lead to 14-1.
Louisiana posted an eight-plus run victory for the third straight outing in Sun Belt play. The 4-0 start in league play is the program’s best since the 2019 season (finished that season 25-0).
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
With potential inclement weather forecasted for Sunday, March 26 in the Lafayette area, the final two games of the series between No. 23 Louisiana and App State will be played as part of a Saturday (March 25) doubleheader at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
The Ragin’ Cajuns and Mountaineers will begin play at 1:00 p.m. and conclude the twinbill at 4:00 p.m.
Louisiana has two chances to extend its streak of consecutive Sun Belt Conference series won, which stood at 74 straight entering the weekend.
Gameday sponsor Dudley DeBosier is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt after the conclusion of play in Game 2, to be immediately followed by an alumni home run derby.
Both games of Saturday’s doubleheader are being televised on ESPN+, while radio coverage is available in the Acadiana region via 103.3 FM The Goat and worldwide on the Varsity Network.
FOLLOW THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Follow the Ragin’ Cajuns on Facebook (/RaginCajunsSB), Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@Louisiana.SB) to stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Louisiana Softball.
Fans are encouraged to stay engaged with the Ragin’ Cajuns by downloading the #GeauxCajuns app. Click here for iOS/Apple platforms and here for Android platforms.
– www.RaginCajuns.com –