No. 21 Louisiana (33-13, 18-6 Sun Belt) vs. ULM (24-25, 10-14 Sun Belt)
Dates: Friday-Saturday, May 4-5, 2018
Location: Lafayette, La.
Stadium: Lamson Park (2,790)
May 4 – 7 p.m. (single)
May 5 – 1 p.m. (DH)
Radio: ESPN 1420-AM • Talent: Steve Peloquin, PxP
Streaming Video (Friday): Ragin’ Cajuns Digital Network
Television/ESPN3 (Saturday): Cox Sports TV • Talent: Dan McDonald, PxP; Gerald Broussard, analyst
Live Stats: CajunStats.com
Twitter Updates: @RaginCajunsSB
May the Fourth Be With You
• Star Wars Ragin’ Cajuns-themed posters (while supplies last)
• $4 general admission tickets
• Flatheads of 2018 Seniors
• Senior recognition at 12:15 p.m.
• $5 general admission tickets and Cinco de Mayo menu options
SETTING THE SCENE
21st-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball concludes regular season play and celebrates Senior Weekend Friday-Saturday, May 4-5 at Lamson Park.
Louisiana (33-13, 18-6 Sun Belt) hosts in-state foe ULM (24-25, 10-14 Sun Belt) in a three-game Sun Belt series which begins with a 7 p.m. single game Friday and concludes in a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday.
The Ragin’ Cajuns senior class will be honored on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. The group includes Kelli Martinez, Kylee Jo Trahan, Brittany Rodriguez and Kalyn Watts.
The ULM series marks the first of back-to-back weekends upcoming for Louisiana at Lamson Park. The 2018 Sun Belt Softball Tournament takes place at the facility Wednesday-Saturday, May 9-12.
Last weekend’s series win at UTA locked up a Top 2 seed for the Ragin’ Cajuns and a bye from opening day action in the SBC Tournament.
Louisiana has been at its best inside Lamson Park this season and seeks to use the home field edge in the race for a conference title. The squad is hitting .317 and the pitching staff sports a 1.94 ERA in the friendly confines.
Fans can hear the entire series on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM in the Acadiana region and worldwide on the ESPN 1420 app. Saturday’s doubleheader will be broadcast on Cox Sports Television and simulcast on ESPN3 outside of the CST viewing areas.
SERIES HISTORY (Louisiana leads, 105-27)
• Louisiana has posted three-game sweeps the last five seasons and has an active 18-game series win streak.
• Louisiana won all previous 11 Sun Belt series and holds a 27-5 edge in SBC regular season meetings.
• This is the Ragin’ Cajuns’ most-played series at 132 games.
• Programs first met in 1981, the Ragin’ Cajuns inaugural season, and met every season following through 2005. Series resumed in 2007 when ULM joined the Sun Belt.
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 199 assists and only 17 errors in a combined 301 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 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 in center field. 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 teamed with Ellyson on the weekend in the early stages of Sun Belt play and most recently at UTA. Carrie Boswell has been the first called up in relief duty in recent weeks. Senior Kylee Jo Trahan returned to work in early April after arm soreness sidelined her most of March.
Catchers: Returning starter and 2017 All-Sun Belt and NFCA All-Central Region performer Lexie Comeaux, who started all 55 games in 2017, is the team’s primary catcher. Freshman Caitlin Garcia has also seen time behind the plate.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Louisiana has the opportunity to begin its march toward the postseason with its faithful fans there to energize them. The Ragin’ Cajuns are back at Lamson Park for next week’s Sun Belt Tournament. Crowds have been above 1,500 for all 18 traditional playing dates this season. When the Texas State finale was moved to Monday, a crowd approaching 1,000 witnessed the late-morning contest.
ARRIVE EARLY: Saturday’s tribute to the 2018 Senior class will begin at 12:15 p.m. Gates to Lamson Park will open at 11:45 a.m. to allow fans extra time to get to their seats for the ceremony.
CONSISTENTCY IS KEY: Louisiana has finished in the Top 2 of the Sun Belt standings five years running. The key ingredient to that success: winning series. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who are 8-for-8 in SBC series this season, have an opportunity to make it five straight seasons winning every league series.
CASEY’S COMEBACK: Freshman Casey Dixon has shown signs she’s set to turn in a strong finish to her inaugural collegiate campaign. Dixon has allowed just one earned run in her last five appearances, a span of 18 innings.
STIRRING IT UP: The Ragin’ Cajuns hit .301 and produced 141 hits in April and key to the success was the trio of Alissa Dalton (.404, 23 hits), Lexie Comeaux (.375, 18 hits) and Kara Gremillion (.340, 17 hits) who at one point were each hitting .400 during the month.
SECRET WEAPON: The Ragin’ Cajuns picked up another bat in the lineup when in a practice during the Georgia State series in which the pitchers had a chance to hit, head coach Gerry Glasco discovered the swing of pitcher Carrie Boswell. After not hitting prior to that practice at GSU, Boswell has collected seven hits, hasn’t struck out in 23 plate appearances and is coming off back-to-back, two-hit games at UTA.
SUMMER’S STEADY: In serving as Louisiana’s lead pitcher, Summer Ellyson has successfully delivered similar results all season long. She has yielded no more than three earned runs in 22 of her 25 starts and turned in 19 outings with five-plus strikeouts.
DEFENDING HOME BASE: Summer Ellyson has yielded just 21 runs and 60 hits over 106-1/3 innings pitched inside Lamson Park. The sophomore hurler is 14-2 with a 1.18 ERA on her home turf.
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 31 outings of three strikeouts or less through 46 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 28.
ANSWERING THE CALL: The Ragin’ Cajuns responded extremely well to each of its losses in April. The squad outscored foes 41-8 and hit .406 in the five wins combined following defeats.
STANDING THEIR GROUND: Ragin’ Cajuns pitchers have limited the opposition to a .190 batting average. The unit has been stingier in Sun Belt play, with league foes limited to a .173 average.
• Louisiana has won 45 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. 22 this week.
• Alissa Dalton posted five RBI at UTA, collecting at least one each game, vaulting her into the team lead with 28 RBI.
• Casey Dixon has allowed just one earned run in her last five appearances, a span of 18 innings.
• Carrie Boswell has collected three multiple-hit games and is hitting .368 (7-for-19) since moving into the designated player role on April 21.
• 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 44 this season increasing her career total to 195.
• Lexie Comeaux’s 19 RBI in Sun Belt Conference play leads the team and ranks Top 5 among all league players.
• Alissa Dalton has thrived in the atmosphere at Lamson Park in her debut season. The sophomore transfer (Oklahoma) is batting .442, with just two strikeouts in 100 plate appearances, and has produced 17 RBI and 42 base hits in the friendly confines.
• Summer Ellyson ranks Top 30 nationally in hits allowed, Top 50 in wins and ERA and Top 60 in total strikeouts. She’s the Sun Belt Conference’s leader in opposing batting average, fewest hits allowed and fewest runs allowed.
• Louisiana’s pitching staff has held the opposition to a sub-.200 average in five of eight Sun Belt series.
• In Sun Belt play, Ragin’ Cajuns hitters have produced at a higher rate in clutch situations. The unit is hitting .320 with runners in scoring position, .339 in two-out situations and has posted 50 two-out RBI.
No. 21 Louisiana hosts the 2018 Sun Belt Conference Softball Tournament at Lamson Park Wednesday-Saturday, May 9-12. The Ragin’ Cajuns, who have secured a Top 2 seed for the event, have a bye from opening day action and will begin play on Thursday, May 10.
For more information on Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball, as well as all of Ragin’ Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/RaginCajunsSB) and Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB).