MOBILE, Ala. – The No. 22-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team remained in the winner’s bracket of the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Softball Tournament after tallying a 9-1 (5 inn.) win over Troy on Thursday morning at Jaguar Field in Mobile.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (43-11) had 10 different players post at least one hit and Sam Landry used just 64 pitches and faced only five over the minimum to notch a win in her Sun Belt Tournament debut.
Louisiana extended its winning streak to a season-high 11 games and won for the 20th time in the past 21 outings.
Next up is the SBC Tournament winner’s bracket final on Friday (May 13) at 10:00 a.m. Louisiana is set to face Texas State (37-17), winners over South Alabama in the other winner’s bracket semifinal, for a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a scoreless first inning, the Trojans (30-20) struck first on a two-out RBI single from Kennedi Gaton in the second inning.
Louisiana’s deficit was short-lived as the first Samantha Graeter and Raina O’Neal took advantage of illegal pitches thrown by Leanna Johnson to each draw a walk to start the bottom of the second, then Maddie Hayden smashed the ball down the left field line leading to both scoring for a 2-1 edge.
The Ragin’ Cajuns added on two more runs before the second inning closed, then the biggest blow of the afternoon came in the third courtesy a two-run home run from O’Neal that extended the lead out to 6-1.
Landry (5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K) kept the momentum on Louisiana’s side following up a scoreless third inning by retiring the final six Trojans batters that she faced.
The early exit for the Ragin’ Cajuns was accomplished by a pair of manufactured runs in the fourth inning and an inside the park home run from Taylor Roman in the fifth inning.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BOX SCORE
Both Hayden and O’Neal finished 2-for-2 at the plate to lead Louisiana’s 12-hit attack. Hayden picked up her 14th multiple-hit game of her collegiate debut season.
O’Neal totaled a season-high three RBI and homered for the third time since returning from injury back on April 29.
The Ragin’ Cajuns produced nine base hits over their final three bats and finished the game with a .500 average (12-for-24). The squad reached double figures in base hits for the 29th time.
Landry (19-3, 2.23 ERA) collected her team-leading 19th win, overall. She retired the side in order in three of the five innings she worked in defeating the Trojans for the third time this season.
THIS ‘N THAT
- Louisiana improved to 67-9 (.882) all-time in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. The Ragin’ Cajuns remained undefeated (9-0) in tournament games played in Mobile.
- Thursday’s matchup marked the first Sun Belt Tournament contest vs. Troy since the 2011 event held in Lafayette at Lamson Park.
- The Ragin’ Cajuns picked up five extra base hits (2 doubles, triple, 2 home runs) to increase its total number of extra base hits in the Sun Belt Tournament to nine (5 doubles, triples, 3 home runs).
- In three appearances vs. Troy, Sam Landry has yielded just two runs and eight base hits over 18 innings of work. She’s limited the Trojans to a .125 average.
- In their first two Sun Belt Tournament games, the Ragin’ Cajuns have received at least one base hit 13 different players.
- The Ragin’ Cajuns batting average over the first two Sun Belt Tournament outings stands at .420 (21-for-50).
Louisiana meets Texas State on Friday, May 13 at 10:00 a.m. in the winner’s bracket final of the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Softball Tournament at Jaguar Field in Mobile, Alabama.
The battle for the first team to reserve a spot in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. championship game features the conference’s two hottest teams – Louisiana winners of 11 straight and Texas State winners of 17 straight.
It will be the fifth time in the past six occurrences of the event that the Ragin’ Cajuns and Bobcats meet in the SBC Tournament winner’s bracket final (2016, 2017, 2018, 2021, 2022).
Louisiana won the season series with Texas State behind Sam Landry and Meghan Schorman combining for a shutout in the opener and a 10-1 (5 inn.) run-rule win in Game 2. The Bobcats avoided the sweep with a sixth-inning rally in the finale.
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