CLEARWATER, Fla. –A seventh-inning rally resulted in a near miss against No. 2 UCLA and an early lead held up for No. 7 Florida State as the No. 22-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team was dealt a pair of defeats on the final day of the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational on Sunday, February 19 at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Florida.
UCLA collected two runs with two outs in the seventh inning to claim a 4-3 win in Sunday’s first contest. In the second half of the doubleheader, FSU plated five runs in its first two at bats and went on to claim a 10-2 (6 inn.) win.
Louisiana (5-5) took advantage of miscues from UCLA (12-0) in the fourth inning and jumped ahead 3-2 on Maddie Hayden’s two-run double off of Megan Faraimo who just entered the game in relief.
Sam Landry (2.1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 2 K) kept the Bruins bats silent, shutting them down after a leadoff single in the fifth inning and retiring the side in order in the sixth inning.
But the Bruins would find the critical hits in the seventh inning after Janelle Meono’s sacrifice bunt off of newly inserted reliever Meghan Schorman which placed a runner in scoring position. Savannah Pola delivered an RBI single to tie the game and Maya Brady rifled a single through the right side that drew an overthrow of third base and allowed Pola to score the go-ahead run.
Faraimo finished off her 3-1/3 innings of scoreless softball retiring the side in the seventh inning to leave the Ragin’ Cajuns stunned.
Hayden (1-for-3, double, 2 RBI) had the lone multiple-RBI game between the two teams. Louisiana’s pitching staff which rotated in five arms worked to keep the Bruins off-balance throughout the contest, limiting them to five hits.
Against Florida State, a pair of early home runs contributed to a 5-0 start for the Seminoles over the first two innings of play.
Freshman pitcher Chloe Riassetto took over in the second inning for Louisiana and held FSU scoreless for the first four innings worth of work she delivered to give the offense time to work their way back into the contest.
Kramer Eschete’s leadoff single and Maddie Hayden’s double which started off the top of the sixth set up the Ragin’ Cajuns for a two-run inning that trimmed the Seminoles’ lead to 5-2. Laney Credeur’s RBI ground out and Victoria Valdez’s sacrifice fly pushed across the runs that forced FSU to make a pitching change.
Mack Leonard eventually got the Ragin’ Cajuns off of the field and the Seminoles used the home run ball again in the bottom half of the sixth inning to end Riassetto’s stranglehold. The three-run home run from, off the bat of Leonard who helped her own cause, stretched FSU’s lead to 9-2.
Eschete, who sparked the Ragin’ Cajuns’ sixth inning rally, finished 2-for-2 at the plate to lead the squad in hits.
Sunday’s play concluded Louisiana’s debut in the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational. The Ragin’ Cajuns finished with a 1-5 mark, though three of the defeats (Michigan, Arkansas and UCLA) were by one run.