HARRISONBURG, Va. – The No. 25-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team used the power game to rein back in James Madison and later deliver the knockout punch in extra innings of an 8-4 (8 inn.) win on Friday, March 31 at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The Dukes exited the fifth inning with momentum after parlaying a pair of Ragin’ Cajuns miscues into runs and a 4-2 lead. Stormy Kotzelnick had the quick response for Louisiana (24-10, 6-1 SBC), though, as she evened the game once more with a two-run home run to right center.
JMU (20-8, 5-2 SBC) made the defensive play at home plate in the seventh inning to keep the game in a gridlock, albeit temporarily.
The free period of softball would be short-lived as the Ragin’ Cajuns received a solo home run from Laney Credeur leading off the eighth inning to break the tie, then Alexa Langeliers lifted a three-run home run to left center to stretch the margin to 8-4.
The late-game power display by the Ragin’ Cajuns bats made a winner out of Meghan Schorman (10-4, 2.10 ERA) who settled in after a pair of solo home runs and four hits allowed in the first inning. Schorman limited the Dukes to just two hits her final six innings in the circle and wound up with a season-high 12 strikeouts.
Kotzelinck, Credeur and Langeliers each finished 2-for-4 at the plate combining for seven RBI led by the game-high three RBI from Langeliers.
Louisiana out-hit JMU 11-6 and made the most of its opportunities with base runners stranding only five while the Dukes left 10 runners on base.
The first-ever Sun Belt Conference meeting between the two nationally recognized programs started with a flurry of offense in the first inning as the Cajuns got two-out hits from Credeur and Lauren Allred to push across two runs and the Dukes responded with a pair of solo home runs in the bottom half to forge a 2-all tie.
It quickly became a standoff between Schorman and JMU starting pitcher Kylah Berry and the 2-2 tie existed through the fourth inning. Both escaped scoring threats, Schorman recording back-to-back strikeouts with two runner on base in the bottom of the fourth and Berry inducing a line out for the final out in top of the fifth with a runner in scoring position.
JMU got the breakthrough in the bottom of the fifth on a defensive miscue, but it was Kotzelnick and the Cajuns offense picking up the defense immediately with the quick answer back in the sixth inning .
Friday’s outing not only started the first-time SBC series between the Ragin’ Cajuns and Dukes, it was also the first matchup on either team’s campus.
Louisiana captured its third come-from-behind win on the road in Sun Belt play this season (twice at USM), and for the second time won when trailing after five innings.
The Ragin’ Cajuns handed the Dukes their first home loss of the 2023 season and picked up their own 15th win away from Lamson Park (seven true road wins, eight neutral site wins).
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
No. 25 Louisiana and James Madison continue the weekend Sun Belt series in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Saturday, April 1 with a 11:00 a.m. (CDT) contest at Veterans Memorial Park.
It’ll be the first of two chances the Ragin’ Cajuns have to extend their nation-leading total of consecutive conference series – which is now a decade old dating back to March 2013 – to 76 straight.
No television coverage of Saturday’s meeting is available. Fans in the Acadiana region can keep up with the action with Cody Junot and Bobby Neveaux on the call on 103.3 FM and 1420 AM and worldwide on the Varsity Network. Live stats will be provided at CajunStats.com.
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