GAINESVILLE, Fla. – In their final two at bats both Sarah Hudek and Raina O’Neal sparked a pair of three-run rallies which carried No. 7 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball to a 7-6 win over 6th-ranked Florida, landing the series victory in the matchup of the two Top 10 programs at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
Trailing 4-1 entering the sixth inning, Hudek began the comeback trail with a single to left center, her first hit of the day. O’Neal immediately followed with a home run shot which sliced the Gators’ lead to 4-3. Two batters later, Julie Rawls drew a key two-out walk to set the stage for Taylor Roman’s RBI double which evened the score at 4-all.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (14-5) would turn the lineup over before their sixth inning at bat expired, buying time for Hudek and O’Neal to get a turn again in the seventh inning.
With two outs, Hudek doubled into left center and once again O’Neal delivered – singling her home for the go-ahead run. The very next at bat, Carrie Boswell drove a line drive home run over the left field wall increasing Louisiana’s lead to 7-4.
Florida (17-4) gained two runs back in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Charla Echols home run. Summer Ellyson put an end to any rally by firing off three straight strikes for the next out, then induced a ground ball wrapped up the triumph.
Louisiana rallied from a four-run deficit against Florida for the second straight day. The hosts used a three-run home run from Kendyl Lindaman to open a 4-0 advantage in the second inning.
O’Neal ended the day 3-for-4 with three RBI, which marked season-high totals in both categories. Both of Hudek’s hits allowed her to bounce back after striking out in both of her first two bat bats against Gators starting pitcher Natalie Lugo.
Ellyson combined with Megan Kleist to hold Florida scoreless for four consecutive innings after the early four runs, buying time for the offense to break free. The scoring spree over the final two innings was reward for the Ragin’ Cajuns who began to break through off of Lugo from the third through fifth innings.
With the win, the 7th-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns, who split a Tuesday doubleheader at No. 3 Texas, ended a week-long stretch of matchups with Top 10 teams with a 3-2 mark.
- Louisiana picked up its third come-from-behind win of the week, and the fifth overall dating back to last Saturday’s win over Ole Miss in Birmingham.
- For the season, the Ragin' Cajuns are now 5-4 vs. ranked opponents. The squad owns splits against Louisiana State, Oklahoma State and Texas, and now a series win over Florida.
- Louisiana took over the lead in the all-time series with Florida, now holding a 7-6 edge.
- A day after posting her first career triple, Carrie Boswell collected her first collegiate home run. The two-run shot added critical insurance for Louisiana moving to the bottom of the seventh.
- Raina O’Neal posted her third home run of the season, moving her into a tie with Bailey Curry, Sarah Hudek and Julie Rawls for the team lead.
- Summer Ellyson, now with three wins over ranked teams this season, was the pitcher of record in both of the Ragin’ Cajuns wins in the series.
- Louisiana’s offense generated a season-high tying 11 base hits. It was the team’s highest output against a ranked foe this season.
No. 7 Louisiana returns to Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park on Wednesday, March 4 for a midweek contest with Campbell. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
After Wednesday’s single game, the Ragin’ Cajuns are back on the road traveling to Conway, S.C., for the Sun Belt Conference opening series at Coastal Carolina set for Friday-Sunday, March 6-8.