LAFAYETTE – With a defensive stand and run-scoring outburst in the fifth inning the 24th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team bested McNeese by a 6-2 count on Wednesday, March 8 at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
Facing a bases-loaded situation in a 2-all game in the top of the fifth inning, Ragin’ Cajuns' reliever Chloe Riassetto jumped on a bunt attempt and quickly flipped to home for the force out which led to the tie being preserved.
Louisiana (14-8) immediately capitalized, and stole the momentum, when Kylei Griffin led off the bottom half of the fifth with a tiebreaking solo home run to center field.
Griffin’s blast marked the first of four straight runs the Ragin’ Cajuns would score before the Cowgirls (13-8) could record an out, the scoring spree capped off by Karly Heath’s two-run home run that created ultimate separation at 6-2.
From there Riassetto (2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 K) would finish off her 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief yielding just an infield single on the way to collecting her first collegiate victory.
The game-winning shot from Griffin (2-for-3, 2 runs, HR, RBI) was the freshman infielder’s first collegiate home run.
Heath (1-for-2, SF, HR, 3 RBI) started the scoring for Louisiana with a sacrifice fly in the third inning and capped it off with her two-run home run in the fifth that increased her team-leading season RBI total to 19 and placed her in the team lead with five home runs.
Sam Landry (4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 K) matched McNeese starting pitcher Ashley Vallejo allowing just single runs in the first and fourth inning to set the stage for the Cajuns’ fifth-inning exploits.
Louisiana posted its second win over McNeese, a Top 75 RPI club, in the past six days following up the 7-1 triumph at the Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas last Friday (March 3).
The Ragin’ Cajuns improved to 7-1 at Lamson Park and remained unbeaten at 4-0 in weekday games.
McNeese took its turn taking the early lead after Kelsey Gaspard lifted a sacrifice fly to left field in the first inning. The visitors would hold the advantage held until the bottom of the third when Griffin singled and Mihyia Davis and Maddie Hayden walked setting up Heath’s sacrifice fly and an RBI ground out from Lauren Allred that put the Ragin’ Cajuns ahead 2-1.
The Cowgirls answered back in the fourth inning with a two-out single from Alayis Seneca that plated the tying run. That’s all that would cross, though, as Davis threw out the would-be go-ahead run for the first of two key defensive stops from the Ragin’ Cajuns.
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
The Ragin' Cajuns travel to Gainesville, Florida to participate in the Bubly Invitational hosted by No. 12 Florida from Friday-Sunday, March 10-12 at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium.
The trip to Gainesville marks Louisiana's final non-conference tournament of the season. The Ragin' Cajuns are scheduled to face Rutgers (16-4) and No. 10 Florida (15-3) twice each over the first two days of the event before concluding action with an early Sunday morning game against Mercer (6-14).
Tournament play for Louisiana in Gainesville begins on Friday, March 10 at 12:00 p.m. (CST) vs. Rutgers followed by a 5:00 p.m. (CST) meeting with the host Gators.
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