Mar 2, 2014 12:26 PM by UL Sports Information
GULFPORT, Miss. - Behind strong pitching efforts from Christina Hamilton and Jordan Wallace and timely home runs from Kesley Vincent and Lexie Elkins the 24th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball team picked up a sweep of action for the second consecutive day here Saturday in the Gulf Coast Softball Classic at the Gulfport Sportsplex.
Vincent's pinch hit, two-run home run in the fourth inning allowed the Ragin' Cajuns to reclaim a lead they lost only a half inning earlier, then Christina Hamilton retired 12 of the 14 hitters she faced in relief as Louisiana topped Chattanooga 6-2 in the day's first contest.
Jordan Wallace's season-high 11 strikeouts and Lexie Elkins' tiebreaking home run in the fifth inning provided a 3-1 win over Ohio in a pitching-oriented matchup in the nightcap.
No. 24 Louisiana (13-5-1) improved to 4-0 in the Gulf Coast Softball Classic. The Cajuns swept Friday's action with a 6-2 win over UTSA and an 11-10 win over Baylor.
The Ragin' Cajuns close out competition in the Gulf Coast Softball Classic on Sunday, March 2 at 10:30 a.m. against Memphis. Louisiana downed Memphis 13-2 (6 inn.) back on Feb. 15 in the Ragin' Cajuns Invitational at Lamson Park.
Louisiana vs. Chattanooga
Elkins put the Cajuns on the scoreboard first against the Mocs (10-8), recording an RBI single which drove home Haley Hayden in the top of the third. Prior to the tally, Macey Smith had faced just one batter over the minimum and Chattanooga's Katie Henderson saw two over the minimum.
The Mocs took advantage of a Cajuns error which kept the inning alive for a two-out, two-run single by Anyssa Robles that gave Chattanooga a 2-1 advantage after three complete.
Vincent pinch hit for Linzey Cifreo in the fourth and made the Mocs' lead short-lived with a drive over the center field fence that produced two runs for a 3-2 Cajuns lead.
Hamilton, who replaced Smith in the circle, established control by striking out all three hitters she faced in the fourth inning. That was part of a relief effort that saw her retire 12 of the 14 batters she faced.
Louisiana used a five-hit attack in the seventh inning to create more distance from Chattanooga. A two-run single by Sara Corbello was the final blow and finished off the game's scoring.
Hamilton struck out eight, increasing her Gulf Coast Classic total to 22. The Rosepine HS product has limited opponents to six hits and allowed just one earned run over 11 innings during the Gulfport event.
Elkins and Corbello notched a team-best three hits and joined Vincent in top honors with two RBI.
Louisiana vs. Ohio
Wallace squared off with Ohio's Savannah Jo Dorsey in a pitcher's duel, trading scoreless frames the first two innings with the only runs allowed by either pitcher through four full innings crossing on bases-loaded walks.
Natalie Fernandez rolled an infield single to shortstop to open the Cajuns half of the fifth inning. Two at bats later, Elkins powered a line drive home run over the left center field fence and Louisiana reclaimed the lead 3-1.
Wallace matched McClary over the final two innings to close out the win. After McClary sat the Cajuns down in order in the sixth inning, Wallace returned the favor in the Bobcats' at bat in the seventh.
Wallace tossed a two-hitter against the Bobcats and her lone blemish was an unearned run that crossed home plate on the bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. She out-dueled Dorsey who allowed the Cajuns just four hits and was in a 1-1 battle until Elkins' home run.
In reaching a season-high 11 strikeouts, Wallace tossed at least seven strikeouts for the eighth time in as many starts in 2014 and increased her season total to 67 over 46 1/3 innings.
With a 2-for-2 performance, Fernandez moved into a tie with Shelbi Redfearn for the team-lead with six multiple-hit games. Elkins notched her fifth multiple-RBI outing.
Wallace's performance capped off one of the Ragin' Cajuns best pitching days of the season as Louisiana held both Chattanooga and Ohio without an earned run over 14 innings combined.