TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – A big first inning was just enough for No. 5 Alabama to hold off a late surge from No. 13 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball and capture a 5-3 win on Saturday in the opening game of a two-game series between the two nationally ranked teams at Rhoads Stadium.
The Crimson Tide’s early head start in the contest was a four-spot in its first at bat capped off by a three-run home run from Lexi Kilfoyl.
Summer Ellyson regained her composure quickly, closing out the first inning with back-to-back strikeouts to begin a stretch where she would retire 11 of the next 12 batters faced to keep Louisiana (35-8) in the contest.
The Ragin’ Cajuns put pressure on Montana Fouts and Alabama (35-7) in the fifth inning and were one hit away from completely erasing the deficit.
Needing a spark Louisiana turned to a familiar play that ignited a huge rally the previous Sunday vs. Texas State – leading off an inning with a bunt single. Kendall Talley executed the bunt, Karly Heath delivered an infield single, and then Talley beat the throw to third on a fielder’s choice grounder allowing the Ragin’ Cajuns to have the bases loaded with no outs.
An RBI ground out from pinch hitter Carrie Boswell got Louisiana on the board, Ciara Bryan reached on a fielder’s choice to reload the bases, then a two-run single from Kaitlyn Alderink sliced the Crimson Tide’s lead to 4-3 with still only one out recorded.
Like Ellyson did earlier in the game, Fouts recovered. A pair of strikeouts would get Alabama out of the inning, the last one coming with the bases loaded, and still in the lead.
The Crimson Tide managed an unearned run in the bottom half of the fifth and Fouts worked back-to-back clean innings to wrap up the win.
Saturday’s contest marked the first meeting at Rhoads Stadium between the two storied softball powers since a three-game series held Feb. 28-March 1, 2015.
The loss snapped the Ragin’ Cajuns 11-game road win streak which began March 21 at UT Arlington. It was only the squad’s fourth defeat in 26 games away from Lamson Park in the 2021 season.
- With the four-run first inning, the Crimson Tide flipped the script on the Ragin’ Cajuns who in the previous three games had scored in the first inning to take control of games.
- With the two-run single in the fifth inning, Kaitlyn Alderink extended her hitting streak to 12 games. It’s her longest hit streak as a Ragin’ Cajun and one shy of her career-best streak of 13 games set back in 2016 as a freshman at Texas A&M.
- Kendall Talley turned in a 2-for-3 performance at the plate against Montana Founts, marking her 10th multiple-hit game of the season.
- Twice in the fifth inning Kendall Talley beat the throw to a bag to preserve two outs and set the stage for the three-run frame that got the Ragin’ Cajuns back into the game.
- After the four-run first inning, Summer Ellyson essentially held the Crimson Tide in check by not allowing an earned run over the final five innings. The stretch began with three consecutive scoreless innings (second through fourth) in which Alabama had only one baserunner.
- Summer Ellyson struck out seven Crimson Tide batters marking her third consecutive start with at least seven strikeouts. Ellyson has fanned 32 batters over the last 22 innings pitched.
- The seven strikeouts recorded by Summer Ellyson marked the second-most posted by an opposing Alabama pitcher in the 2021 season. It was the most strikeouts by the Crimson Tide offense since April 10 vs. Arkansas (10).
- The loss snapped a personal 11-game win streak for Summer Ellyson and was her first since March 20 at UT Arlington.
- Prior to the first-inning deficit, the Ragin’ Cajuns had trailed for only 4-1/2 of the 88 innings played in the month of April before Saturday’s contest began.
- Alabama reclaimed the all-time series lead with Louisiana, moving ahead 7-6. The Crimson Tide improved to 5-1 in its home facility against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
- For the ninth time in 13 all-time meetings the Ragin’ Cajuns and Crimson Tide played a game that was decided by three runs or less.
UP NEXTNo. 13 Louisiana aims to capture a split of its trip to Tuscaloosa on Sunday (April 25) with a rematch against No. 5 Alabama at Rhoads Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (CDT).
Live video coverage is available through SEC Network Plus [espn.com], and Ragin' Cajuns fans can also follow along with the radio broadcast on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM [espn1420.com] and live stats at RaginCajuns.com [sidearmstats.com].
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