LAFAYETTE – On a day when 10th-ranked Louisiana Softball celebrated Keeli Milligan’s stolen base record and Easter with its fans, the squad also celebrated a Sun Belt Conference regular season championship.
Saturday’s 10-2 (5 inn.) win over Georgia State, coupled with Troy’s loss to Appalachian State a mere five minutes later, handed the Ragin’ Cajuns (42-4, 21-0 Sun Belt) the SBC crown. It’s the program’s 16th regular season title in the 19-year history of regular season competition in the conference.
The triumph also completed Louisiana’s seventh SBC series sweep of the season, continuing the record unbeaten start to league play, and extended the team’s winning streak to 19 games.
It was a five-run third inning manufactured by speed which set up an RBI groundout, run-scoring hits from Sarah Hudek and Kourtney Gremillion, and capped off by a Lexie Comeaux sacrifice fly which gave the Ragin’ Cajuns separation at 6-0.
Two innings later it was Comeaux brining the contest to an early end with a walk-off, three-run home run. That provided Louisiana with its third run-rule triumph of the Panthers (7-40, 4-17 Sun Belt) in the weekend series.
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Comeaux produced a season-high tying four RBI, accounting for nearly half of Louisiana’s production and matching her output from the middle game of the South Alabama series.
Hudek delivered her team-leading 15th multiple-hit game of the season finishing 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. She doubled home Raina O’Neal (2-for-2, 2 runs), who also had a multiple-hit game, in the first inning for the first run of the contest.
Alissa Dalton and Kourtney Gremillion joined O’Neal in game-high honors with two runs scored. Dalton raced home from first on an errant throw following a sacrifice bunt from Gremillion in the fifth inning to up the lead to 7-2 and set up Comeaux’s game-ending blast.
Summer Ellyson scattered five hits and yielded only one earned run over four innings for her nation-leading 29th win. She crafted seven more strikeouts which pushed her career total past 500.
Alison Deville quieted down the Panthers after a two-run fourth inning by working around a leadoff double for her sixth consecutive scoreless relief outing since April 10.
- During pregame ceremonies, Dorsey Steamer was on hand to present Keeli Milligan with a commemorative base to signify her record-breaking stolen base on Friday.
- For the first time since the Sun Belt expanded to a 24-game or more schedule, Louisiana clinched the regular season title with still two weekends of league play remaining.
- The Ragin’ Cajuns’ 19-game win streak is the third-longest in the nation, trailing only Oklahoma’s 31-game run and a 20-game streak by Arizona.
- Summer Ellyson finished the Georgia State series with 26 strikeouts in just 13 innings. It marked her highest total in Sun Belt play this season.
- Including the final two games of the North Carolina trip, Summer Ellyson closed the five-game week with 40 strikeouts over 18-2/3 innings.
- Now with 29 wins, Summer Ellyson is one shy of joining the likes of Brooke Mitchell, Cheryl Longeway, Ashley Brignac and Jordan Wallace as individuals to win 30 games in a season in program history.
- Sarah Hudek finished the weekend series 6-for-8 at the plate (.750) to raise her season average to .364 – the highest mark since March 13 at Nicholls.
- Sarah Hudek also extended her hitting streak to 10 games. It’s her season-high streak and the second-longest by a Ragin’ Cajun in 2019 (Alissa Dalton had a 12-game streak).
- With her double in the fifth inning, Kara Gremillion hit double digits in a single season for the first time in her career (now has 10).
- Lexie Comeaux’s RBI total increased her season figure to 38, placing her within two of reaching 40 for the second time in her career (2017 as a sophomore) and from becoming the second Ragin’ Cajun to hit the mark in 2019 (Julie Rawls has 46).
- Louisiana stretched its all-time series lead over Georgia State to 28-3. That includes a 17-1 mark in Sun Belt Conference regular season games.
- The series win extends the program’s streak of consecutive Sun Belt series won to 53 straight – the nation’s longest active streak.
No. 10 Louisiana travels to Ruston, La. on Wednesday, April 24 for its final midweek game of the season set for 6 p.m. at Louisiana Tech. The Ragin’ Cajuns then return to Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park April 26-28 for a Sun Belt series with Coastal Carolina and to celebrate Senior Weekend.
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