HOUSTON – In a game where the lead swapped hands four times, each time immediately, No. 14 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball outlasted Houston for a 12-5 win on Wednesday at the Cougar Softball Stadium that stretched the team’s winning streak to 14 games and completed a sweep of three consecutive days of games in Texas.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (29-6) had to overcome a late-game momentum shift that was in favor of the Cougars (10-22) after a pair of two-run home runs in the fifth inning pulled the hosts ahead 5-3.
Louisiana wasted little time grabbing the momentum back by loading the bases four batters in to the next half inning. Following a wild pitch and a Ciara Bryan RBI single the contest was quickly evened at 5-all.
The Ragin’ Cajuns kept the pressure on as Kendall Talley laid down a squeeze bunt that resulted in a missed tag at home plate that rolled away allowing two additional runs to score for a 7-5 advantage.
Jade Gortarez placed the exclamation point on the huge run production for Louisiana in the decisive sixth inning as she lifted a two-run home run to center field expanding the lead to 9-5. An inning later, Melissa Mayeux delivered a three-run home run to close the scoring.
Summer Ellyson (2.0 IP, 3 R, 4 H) settled in after the Cougars’ uprising when she relieved Kandra Lamb by tossing a scoreless sixth inning to prevent any response by the home squad. Casey Dixon (1.0 IP, 0 R, 0H) closed the door in the seventh by working around a leadoff walk.
By earning the win in relief, Ellyson claimed her 85th career victory moving her past Melissa Coronado (84 wins from 1999-2002) for sole possession of fifth place on the program’s career listing.
The twists and turns to the day started early when Houston began the game with a solo home run in its first at bat. Bailey Curry (single) and Kaitlyn Alderink (double), who each turned in two-hit efforts, reached base in the second inning to start the Ragin’ Cajuns first rally of the day that was capped off by and RBI triple from Sophie Piskos. A two-out RBI single by Julie Rawls increased the lead to 3-1, seemingly providing valuable insurance until the Cougars rattled off four straight hits to start the bottom half which resulted in the lead change that forced the Ragin’ Cajuns to have to rally again.
- The deficits that Louisiana faced in the game marked the first for the squad on the Texas portion of the Spring Break road trip. It was also the first deficit faced since Game 3 of the Georgia Southern series on March 29.
- The 5-3 deficit overcome in the sixth inning is tied for the latest comeback to claim a victory for Louisiana in the 2021 season. It matched the rally in the sixth inning at McNeese in which the squad overcame a 4-1 deficit to win on March 3.
- Louisiana produced 12 hits in the game, marking the sixth time in seven games on the current road trip the squad reached double figures.
- Seven games into the current Spring Break road trip the Ragin’ Cajuns are batting .399, have outscored foes 75-11, hold a 81-26 advantage in base hits and have generated 33 extra base hits (13 doubles, six triples, 14 home runs).
- Kaitlyn Alderink reached base in three of her four plate appearances (two doubles, walk) and it resulted in Louisiana plating multiple runs in the second inning, sixth inning and seventh inning.
- Kendall Talley extended her career-best hitting streak to 13 games. She is batting a team-leading .500 (19-for-38) with 17 runs scored and eight RBI produced during the streak which began on March 26 vs. South Alabama.
- Ciara Bryan moved her latest hitting streak to 10 games, giving her a second double-digit hitting streak of the season. She had a career-best, 17-game hitting streak from Feb. 26-March 28.
- Ciara Bryan drew a walk in her plate appearance during the fifth inning to keep alive her season-long streak of having reached base, now at 35 consecutive games. It’s the longest such streak by a Ragin’ Cajun since Kara Gremillion ended the 2017 season with a 47-game reached base streak.
- The home runs from Jade Gortarez and Melissa Mayeux marked the ninth time in the past 11 games that Louisiana has homered at least once in a game.
- During the 14-game winning streak the Ragin’ Cajuns offense is batting .336, has outscored foes 109-18, and piled up 124 base hits of which 44 are for extra bases (17 doubles, 6 triples, 21 home runs).
- Louisiana and Houston met for the first time since the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional elimination game in Gerry Glasco’s debut season in which the Ragin’ Cajuns eliminated the Cougars.
- It was the first matchup in Houston between the two programs since a March 7, 2012 doubleheader that Louisiana swept 12-7 (9 inn.), 3-2.
After a day off on Thursday (April 8), No. 14 Louisiana completes its 10-game Spring Break road trip Friday-Sunday, April 9-11 in Troy, Ala., facing the Trojans (26-6, 10-0 Sun Belt) in a key Sun Belt Conference showdown.
The three-game series with the current Sun Belt-leading squad begins Friday at 6 p.m. at the Troy Softball Complex, followed by single games on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.