MOBILE, Ala. – The No. 22-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team secured its spot in the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game with a 1-0 (8 inn.) win over Texas State in the winner’s bracket final on Friday morning at Jaguar Field in Mobile.
Meghan Schorman (8.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) tossed eight innings of scoreless softball and Raina O’Neal delivered the winning run in extra innings with a first-pitch leadoff home run in the eighth.
Louisiana (44-11) extended its season-high winning streak to 12 games and won for the 21st time in the past 22 outings.
The Ragin’ Cajuns earned the program’s eighth consecutive appearance in the SBC Tournament title game, and the 20th overall in 22 editions of the conference’s postseason event.
The opponent for the championship game, scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at 2:30 p.m., will be the survivor of the tournament’s final elimination game which will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. Louisiana, the two-time defending champions, seeks a three-peat and the program’s 17th overall SBC Tournament championship.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Regulation was an instant classic pitcher’s duel between Schorman and Texas State’s Jessica Mullins – neither yielding a run.
Schorman took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and had her shutout preserved in the bottom of the sixth inning when Kayla Falterman made an over-the-shoulder catch to keep Ciara Trahan (leadoff single) from scoring.
Mullins, who worked around trouble from the second through fourth inning which include surviving a near-miss home run by Karly Heath, did her part in extending the scoreless battle into extra innings when she induced three straight outs after the first two Ragin’ Cajuns reached base to start off the seventh inning.
Two-out singles in the bottom of the seventh from Tori McCann and Kylie George marked the last hurdle for Schorman, and she got a grounder to from Hannah Earls to give her team a chance.
O’Neal followed with the leadoff home run on the very first pitch Mullins threw in extras. Schorman and the Ragin’ Cajuns didn’t look back by turning the opportunity into triumph immediately the next half inning.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BOX SCORE
The complete game shutout was Schorman’s third of the season, and seventh overall shutout she’s had a hand in. It was the first complete-game effort by a Louisiana pitcher in the SBC Tournament since Summer Ellyson’s 1-0 blanking of Coastal Carolina in the 2019 championship game.
Schorman faced just four over the minimum (two reached via error) and twice she retired the Bobcats (37-18) in order over the first four innings. Only once did Texas State post multiple hits in an inning, and only once did a runner reach third base.
O’Neal (2-for-4, HR, RBI) collected her second home run in as many days in the SBC Tournament, and her fourth since returning from injury on April 29.
Melissa Mayeux (2-for-3) was the other Ragin’ Cajun with a multiple-hit effort off of Mullins and Sophie Piskos, who singled in the second for the game’s first hit, extended her hitting streak to a career-and season-high 14 games.
THIS ‘N THAT
- Louisiana improved to 68-9 (.883) all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Ragin’ Cajuns remained undefeated (10-0) in tournament games played in Mobile.
- The Ragin’ Cajuns extended the program’s Sun Belt Tournament winning streak to 10 games, a streak which dates back to the 2019 event in San Marcos.
- Louisiana has now moved on to the SBC Tournament championship game in each of the four appearances in the event under the guidance of Gerry Glasco (2018, 2019, 2021, 2022).
- Friday’s game marked the fifth time in the past six occurrences of the Sun Belt Tournament that the Ragin’ Cajuns and Bobcats met in the winner’s bracket final (2016-18, 2021-22).
- In her two starts in the Sun Belt Tournament, Meghan Schorman has pitched 15 innings and surrendered a single run, eight hits, struck out 17 and held foes (Coastal Carolina, Texas State) to a .151 average.
- Raina O’Neal is batting .556 (5-for-9) in the Sun Belt Tournament and sports team-leading totals in runs (3), home runs (2) and RBI (5). Three of her five hits have gone for extra bases (double, 2 home runs).
Louisiana returns to Jaguar Field in Mobile, Alabama on Saturday, May 14 for the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship Game scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
The Ragin’ Cajuns await the survivor of the tournament’s remaining elimination games, the final one coming at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Louisiana seeks its third straight title under Gerry Glasco‘s watch and the program’s 17th overall in the 22-year history of the event.