(UL ATHLETICS) – Top-10 ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball experienced a narrow defeat in a classic pitcher’s duel and enjoyed a run-away victory with fireworks on Saturday in its final action of the opening weekend of the 2020 season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (3-1) fell to North Texas in a 2-1 contest decided on a late-inning home run to start the day, but bounced back immediately when an eight-run explosion in the fourth inning catapulted the squad to an 11-1 (5 inn.) win over UTSA.
It was a scoreless contest with the Mean Green (3-1) through three innings before both teams swapped run-scoring singles in the fourth inning. Alissa Dalton greeted reliever Hope Trautwein with an RBI shot into center field for Louisiana’s tally.
It remained a deadlocked affair until the seventh inning when pinch hitter Kourtney Williams provided the game-winning run for UNT with a solo shot to left field to lead off the frame.
Despite the defeat, Megan Kleist shined in her second start as a Ragin’ Cajun. She yielded only one earned run, scattered five hits and struck out 11. Dalton finished 2-for-3 at the plate for her first multiple-hit game of the season.
Summer Ellyson set the tone in the nightcap, carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Julie Rawls got the offense unwound with her first home run of the young season, a towering three-run blast into the left field bleachers during the third inning.
Patience at the plate generated an enormous amount of traffic in the fourth inning for Louisiana as reliever UTSA reliever Clarissa Hernandez walked in three of the first four runs which stretched the lead to 7-0.
The final blow came when Brittany Holland drove the first pitch from starting pitcher Erika Cortez, who re-entered the game, out of the park for a grand slam that brought the margin into double digits. It was the first home run as a Ragin’ Cajun for Holland, who saw her previous two seasons ended by injury.
Rawls and Holland shared team-leading honors with four RBI. It was Rawls’ second multiple-RBI outing of the weekend, while the production increased her season total to team-best seven RBI.
Ellyson faced one batter over the minimum in her 4-2/3 innings in the circle, the lone hit and run coming off a solo home run to lead off the fifth inning. She recorded eight strikeouts, hitting the mark for the second time in as many starts.