No. 22 Louisiana (29-11, 14-4 Sun Belt) vs. Georgia Southern (23-20, 7-11 Sun Belt)
Dates: Saturday-Sunday, April 21-22, 2018
Location: Lafayette, La.
Stadium: Lamson Park (2,790)
Apr. 21 – 2 p.m. (DH)
Apr. 22 – 11 a.m. (single)
Streaming Video: Ragin’ Cajuns Digital Network
Radio: ESPN 1420-AM • Talent: Steve Peloquin, PxP
Live Stats: CajunStats.com
Twitter Updates: @RaginCajunsSB
Saturday – Team-Friend Challenge
• Friends and family of Ragin’ Cajuns softball player encouraged to support them
• Flatheads of each player available (while supplies last)
Sunday – Girl Scout Day
• Free admission for Girl Scouts wearing uniform or sash
• Poster competition with winning troop receiving a Pizza Party
Sunday – Bike to the Ballpark
• Bring own bike or borrow from Geaux Velo kiosk (East side of Cajun Field)
• Registration is FREE and begins at 9:00 a.m. at main parking entrance at Lamson Park
• Ride begins at 9:30 a.m.
Sunday – Battle of the Buildings
• Residence hall with most students in attendance wins a pizza party
• RA from each hall has a chance to throw out first pitch
SETTING THE SCENE
For the second straight weekend, 22nd-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball is at home inside Lamson Park for a Sun Belt Conference series.
Louisiana (29-11, 14-4 Sun Belt) is hosting Georgia Southern (23-20, 7-11 Sun Belt) this weekend. It’s the Eagles first visit to Lamson Park since March 2015.
The Ragin’ Cajuns seek to keep a strong hold on one of the top two spots in the Sun Belt standings. A finish in this position guarantees a bye from opening day action in the Sun Belt Tournament.
Louisiana is coming off a key SBC series win over current leader Texas State last weekend, claiming the final two games for its sixth series win in as many tries. On Wednesday, a midweek road win at McNeese extended the squad’s win streak to three games.
The Ragin’ Cajuns-Eagles matchup features two of the Sun Belt’s newest coaching staffs. Both Louisiana’s Gerry Glasco and Georgia Southern’s Kim Dean are in their first season at their respective school.
The offense has been trending upward for Louisiana in recent weeks. The Ragin’ Cajuns are hitting .350 over an eight-game stretch, which began with the Georgia State series, in which they’ve reached double digits in hits six times.
Fans can listen to the entire series on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM in the Acadiana region and worldwide on the ESPN 1420 app. A live video stream, produced by the Ragin’ Cajuns Digital Network, will be available at RaginCajuns.com/Watch.
SERIES HISTORY (Louisiana leads, 10-1)
• Fourth Sun Belt series between the two programs. Louisiana won the series previous three matchups.
• Initial Sun Belt series took place at Lamson Park in March 2015 (was also the first meetings on either school’s campus).
• Programs met in Statesboro, Ga., each of the past two seasons.
• Only meetings prior to Georgia Southern joining the Sun Belt Conference took place during former head coach Yvette Girouard’s tenure.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Infield: The left side is anchored by veteran third baseman Kara Gremillion and sophomore transfer Alissa Dalton (Oklahoma) at shortstop, both preseason All-Sun Belt selections. The duo has combined for 167 assists and only 15 errors in a combined 256 chances. On the right side, Kourtney Gremillion (Kara’s sister) covers first base while freshman Casidy Chaumont claimed the starter’s role at second base following the season-ending injury to JUCO transfer Brittany Holland.
Outfield: Senior Kelli Martinez, a preseason All-Sun Belt selection and four-year starter, is the veteran leader of the group. The opening day starter in left field, Martinez has also seen time in center field with the addition of Kalyn Watts, who platoons with her in left field, to the lineup for added power. Aeriyl Mass gives the Cajuns a speed option for late-game defensive situations. Brittany Rodriguez has settled back into right field.
Pitchers: Sophomore Summer Ellyson has turned in several solid starts (includes win over No. 2 Florida, no-hitter, 20-strikeout performance) and ranks second in victories and ERA in the Sun Belt. Freshman Casey Dixon provides an additional option to start a contest and teamed with Ellyson on the weekend in the early stages of Sun Belt play. Carrie Boswell has been the first called up in relief duty in recent weeks. Senior Kylee Jo Trahan returned to work on the Florida State-Georgia State trip after arm soreness sidelined her most of March.
Catchers: Returning starter and 2017 All-Sun Belt and NFCA All-Central Region performer Lexie Comeaux leads the group. Freshman Caitlin Garcia and sophomore Beth Ashley have also seen time behind the plate. Expect Comeaux, who started all 55 games in 2017, to resume the primary catcher’s role the remainder of the season with Ashley serving as the backup.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Ragin’ Cajuns have one of the most passionate fan bases in the country and the energy they provide is a huge advantage. Louisiana has drawn above 1,500 for all 15 traditional playing dates. When the Texas State finale was moved to Monday, a crowd approaching 1,000 witnessed the late-morning contest.
THE STRETCH RUN: The countdown is on to postseason play. Only three weekends, and a total of nine games, remain until the Sun Belt Conference postseason tournament set for May 9-12 at Lamson Park.
LEADERS OF THE PACK: During the recent eight-game stretch where the offense is hitting .350, the success has been spearheaded by Kara Gremillion (.519), Alissa Dalton (.455) and Lexie Comeaux (.440) who are each hitting above .400 during the timeframe.
FULL STRENGTH: The return of Kylee Jo Trahan to full-time work in the pitching circle, gives Louisiana its full complement of arms in the circle and a proven veteran to compliment lead pitcher Summer Ellyson for the stretch run.
PICKING UP STEAM: The Cajuns offense is heating up at the right time. It started with 39 hits in the Georgia State series, continued with 14 hits at Southeastern Louisiana and was even more impressive with the 27 hits collected in the Texas State series (most allowed by Bobcats in a SBC series this year).
STOPPING ‘EM IN THEIR TRACKS: Summer Ellyson has surrendered just one run in regulation play over the past 20-2/3 innings. In 14 innings of regulation play vs. Texas State, Ellyson yielded just the one run. She followed up with 6-2/3 scoreless innings in Wednesday’s win at McNeese.
A RESILIENT BUNCH: The Ragin’ Cajuns own 12 come-from-behind wins this season. In road Sun Belt series at Coastal Carolina and Troy, the squad rallied twice from a deficit.
PROTECTING THE PLATE: Ragin’ Cajuns hitters have made opposing pitchers and defenses work for their outs. The squad has 25 outings of three strikeouts or less through 40 games played.
EVERYONE CONTRIBUTES: One glance at the Ragin’ Cajuns stats and it’s clearly evident that anyone can step up at any time. Nine different players have posted double digit hits and the RBI figures are spread even with eight individuals having totals ranging from 11 up to 25.
STANDING THEIR GROUND: Ragin’ Cajuns pitchers have limited the opposition to a .191 batting average. The unit has been stingier in Sun Belt play, with league foes accruing a .169 average.
STANDING THEIR GROUND (Part 2): Summer Ellyson and Kylee Jo Trahan teamed up to hold Texas State to 14 hits and a .179 average in the series. It marked the fourth time in six SBC series the pitching staff held foes to a sub-.200 average.
SUMMER’S STEADY: As she settles into the role as the Ragin’ Cajuns lead pitcher, Summer Ellyson has provided consistent results. She has yielded no more than three earned runs in 18 of her 21 starts. She’s also turned in 15 outings with five-plus strikeouts, nine of those coming in the past 11 outings.
• Louisiana has won 43 consecutive Sun Belt Conference series (school and SBC record streak). The streak spans the previous four-plus seasons, dating back to a March 2013 sweep of FIU.
• Louisiana leads the Sun Belt Conference in the NCAA’s latest release of the 2018 RPI rankings. Coach Gerry Glasco’s squad checked in at No. 23 this week.
• Alissa Dalton has an active 13-game hitting streak, the longest of her career and the team-best streak this season. During the streak, which began March 30 vs. South Alabama, Dalton is hitting .479 (23-of-48) which has raised her season average to .400.
• Alissa Dalton has thrived in the atmosphere at Lamson Park in her debut season. The sophomore transfer (Oklahoma) is batting .453, with just two strikeouts in 90 plate appearances, and has produced 16 RBI in the friendly confines.
• Brittany Rodriguez is closing in on 200 career hits at the Division I level. Rodriguez, who picked up 151 hits over two seasons at Lamar, has generated 41 this season increasing her career total to 192.
• Kourtney Gremillion picked up her first career Sun Belt Player of the Week award on Tuesday. Gremillion hit .615, had three multiple-hit games and posted four run-scoring hits which led to six RBI during the four-game week against Southeastern Louisiana and Texas State.
• With one more RBI, Kourtney Gremillion will become the fifth Ragin’ Cajun to reach 20 RBI this season.
• Beth Ashley’s team-leading 25 RBI marks her career-best, single-season output. She’s bested her previous high of 20 RBI set as a redshirt freshman in 2017.
• The next time senior Kelli Martinez steps onto the playing field it will mark her 200th career game wearing the Ragin’ Cajuns uniform.
• In Sun Belt play, Ragin’ Cajuns hitters have produced at a higher rate in clutch situations. The unit is hitting .335 with runners in scoring position, .356 in two-out situations and has posted 41 two-out RBI.
• The 5-3 putout is a unique one for Louisiana as it pairs sisters Kara Gremillion (third base) and Kourtney Gremillion (first base). The siblings are on the playing field together for the first time since Spring 2015 at St. Amant High School.
No. 22 Louisiana travels to Arlington, Texas for the final road Sun Belt Conference series of the season. The series with UTA is set for Saturday-Sunday, April 28-29 at Allan Saxe Field.