No. 21 Louisiana (38-14, 21-6 Sun Belt) in NCAA Baton Rouge Regional
Dates: Friday-Sunday, May 18-20, 2018
Location: Baton Rouge, La.
Stadium: Tiger Park (2,671)
May 18 vs. Houston – 3 p.m.
May 19 vs. Louisiana State/Fordham – 12 p.m. or 2:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 1420-AM • Talent: Steve Peloquin, PxP
Live Video: ESPN3 • Talent: Lyn Rollins, PxP; Yvette Girouard, analyst
Live Stats: NCAA.com
Twitter Updates: @RaginCajunsSB
Brackets: NCAA Baton Rouge Regional | NCAA Tournament
SETTING THE SCENE
21st-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball appears in the NCAA Tournament for the 20th consecutive season, and 28th overall in the past 29 seasons, after being assigned to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, ranked No. 21 by the NFCA and No. 22 by USA Softball and listed 22nd in the final NCAA RPI rankings, were awarded an at-large berth into the postseason event.
The NCAA Baton Rouge Regional features top-seeded Louisiana State (41-14), Louisiana (38-14), Houston (36-20) and Fordham (33-21).
It’s a return trip to Baton Rouge for the Ragin’ Cajuns who finished runner-up to the Tigers in the 2017.
Louisiana enters this year’s Baton Rouge Regional having won seven of the last eight games. During that stretch, the squad won five one-run games
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
28th overall appearance (1990-1997, 1999-2018)
All-Time NCAA Tournament Record: 73-57 (.562)
NCAA Regionals Record: 61-34 (.642)
NCAA Regional Championships: 11
Last Championship: 2016 (NCAA Lafayette Regional)
• Louisiana makes its 20th consecutive appearance (streak began in 1999); 28th overall in past 29 years.
• Louisiana’s 28 NCAA Tournament appearances rank eighth in NCAA history (tied with CS Fullerton).
• In previous 10 appearances (2008-17), the Cajuns went 27-7 and claimed seven NCAA Regional titles.
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 First Team All-Sun Belt selections. The duo has combined for 230 assists and only 20 errors in a combined 346 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. Brittany Rodriguez has settled back into right field.
Pitchers: First Team All-Sun Belt performer Summer Ellyson has turned in several solid starts (win over No. 2 Florida, two no-hitters, 20-strikeout performance, 14-inning shutout) and ranks Top 30 nationally in ERA and Top 40 in victories. Freshman Casey Dixon teamed with Ellyson in the early stages of Sun Belt play and over the final two weekends. 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.
SELECT FEW: Louisiana is just one of nine schools to play in the NCAA Tournament every year since 2000. The list includes: Alabama, Arizona, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, UCLA and Washington.
FAMILIAR SCENE: The Ragin’ Cajuns make a second straight appearance in the Baton Rouge Regional, and eighth overall since 2000. For coaches Gerry Glasco and Joe Guthrie it’s a return to the scene where they guided the NPF’s Scrap Yard Dawgs to the 2017 league championship.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The winner of the Baton Rouge Regional will play the winner of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional hosted by No. 6 national seed Florida State. The Ragin’ Cajuns seek a sixth trip in the seven years to the Super Regionl round.
CONSISTENCY: Louisiana has finished in the Top 2 of the Sun Belt standings five years running. The key ingredient to that success: winning series. The Cajuns were 9-for-9 in SBC series, marking the fifth straight year winning every league set.
STEADFAST: Summer Ellyson yielded no more than three earned runs in 26 of her 29 starts and turned in 22 outings with five-plus strikeouts.
LOCKED IN: Since April 15, Summer Ellyson has worked 84-1/3 innings and yielded just 12 earned runs (1.00 ERA), 54 hits and limited foes to a .177 average. Recently, she tossed a 14-inning shutout of ULM (May 4) and no-hit #23 Texas State (May 11).
TOUGH CUSTOMER: Alissa Dalton ranks Top 15 nationally among the toughest to strikeout with only five in 198 plate appearances. She’s hasn’t struck out since March 4.
HUMAN MAGNET: Kara Gremillion continues to provide a lockdown force at third base. She’s collected 128 fielding assists marking the second straight season surpassing the century mark.
SISTER, SISTER: 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 field together for the first time since Spring 2015 at St. Amant High School.
A RESILIENT BUNCH: The Ragin’ Cajuns own 13 come-from-behind wins this season.
BATTLE-TESTED: Louisiana sports a 19-8 record in games decide by two runs or less (10-6 in one-run games). The Ragin’ Cajuns are 7-3 in extra innings.
EVERYONE CONTRIBUTES: Nine different players have posted double digit hits (six with 30-plus) and the RBI figures are spread even with eight individuals having totals ranging from 11 up to 30.
HIDDEN GEM: In early April at Georgia State head coach Gerry Glasco discovered the swing of pitcher Carrie Boswell when the pitchers were given a chance to take batting practice. Boswell has been starting at designated player since April 21 and has posted three mutliple-hit games.
• During the 2018 season, Louisiana extended its school-and Sun Belt-record of consecutive conference series won to 46. The streak spans the previous four-plus seasons, dating back to a March 2013 sweep of FIU.
• 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.
• Louisiana’s pitching staff has held the opposition to a sub-.200 average seven of the last 10 weekends. Entering the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, the unit has limited foes to a .187 average.
• Ragin’ Cajuns hitters have made opposing pitchers and defenses work for outs. The squad has 37 outings of three strikeouts or less through 52 games and has struck out only 10 times the last three weekends.
• Sophomore pitcher Summer Ellyson, a 2018 first team All-Sun Belt selection, has reached the 20-win plateau for the first time in her career. Prior to 2018, Ellyson redshirted as a freshman and appeared in 12 games totaling 20 innings in 2017.
• Alissa Dalton has had a hit in 38 of 52 games with her 68 hits ranking Top 60 nationally and second-most in the Sun Belt. She leads Louisiana with 20 multiple-hit games (reached three hits nine times).
• Brittany Rodriguez is one hit shy of 200 in her Division I career. She’s added 47 hits this season to the 151 posted in two seasons at Lamar (2016-17).
• Freshman pitcher Casey Dixon has allowed just two earned runs over her last seven appearances, a span of 23-2/3 innings.
• Senior Kelli Martinez moved to the leadoff spot in last week’s Sun Belt Tournament. She led the team with a .375 average and .500 on base percentage. In the tournament opener, she reached base all four plate appearances and scored both of Louisiana’s run.
• Kara Gremillion combines with Alissa Dalton to make the No. 2-3 spots in the lineup a danger zone for opposing pitchers. The duo has a combined 13 strikeouts in a combined 397 plate appearances.
• Louisiana has one of the nation’s youngest starting lineups. In the batting order there are five underclassmen and in the pitching circle the Cajuns have relied heavily on a sophomore and two freshmen.