BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – For the second time on Sunday the offense was at its best from the fourth inning on, leading No. 8 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball to an 8-2 win over UAB in the final game of the Green and Gold Classic at Mary Bowers Field.
Louisiana (4-0) plated eight runs over its final four at bats for the second straight game, starting with a two-run home run from Raina O’Neal in the fourth inning, to secure the victory and complete Opening Weekend and the Green and Gold Classic undefeated.
Earlier in the day, the Ragin’ Cajuns began a push in the fourth inning against Southeastern Louisiana by piling up eight runs over its final three at bats to claim a 9-1 (6 inn.) triumph.
O’Neal’s fourth-inning heroics pulled Louisiana out of its first deficit of the season. UAB (4-4) opened a 1-0 lead in its first at bat with a two-out RBI double from Sierra Frazier.
Summer Ellyson wouldn’t relinquish the lead as she faced the minimum over the next two innings, closing the fifth inning with a double play after a runner reached scoring position. Ellyson wound up scattering four hits and struck out six batters over 5-2/3 innings of work.
O’Neal (3-for-4, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI) took charge once again in the sixth inning when she delivered the first of three consecutive RBI singles that extended the lead to 6-1 and effectively put the game out of reach.
The Blazers scratched a run in the bottom of the sixth inning and were threatening for more, but with the tying run on deck Vanessa Foreman threw one pitch and induced a pop up to close the frame.
Louisiana stretched its winning to eight games dating back to last season’s COVID-19 stoppage of play and moved to 4-0 to start a season for the third time in four years with Gerry Glasco.
- Of the 26 runs the Ragin’ Cajuns scored during the Green and Gold Classic, a total of 22 (85 percent) were produced from the fourth inning on.
- In the two games combined on Sunday (SLU and UAB), Louisiana generated 16 runs from the fourth inning on.
- Raina O’Neal became the third Ragin’ Cajun to turn in a three-hit game during Opening Weekend, joining Ciara Bryan and Alissa Dalton. For O’Neal it marked her seventh three-hit game with Louisiana.
- Ciara Bryan (2-for-4) collected her third multiple-hit game of the Green and Gold Classic. Bryan led Louisiana with a .500 average (8-for-16) and hits (8) over the weekend.
- In two games against UAB, Summer Ellyson pitched 13 innings, yielded only one run, allowed just seven hits and struck out 13 batters.
- Both Jade Gortarez and Justice Milz picked up their first base hits in a Ragin’ Cajuns uniform.
- Vanessa Foreman collected the first save of her collegiate career after ending a UAB threat in the sixth inning and closing out the final 1-1/3 innings of play.
- Louisiana moved to 4-0 all-time vs. UAB. Including this weekend’s sweep, three of the four wins over the Blazers have come in Birmingham.
UP NEXTAn extremely busy schedule awaits No. 8 Louisiana next week with a total of eight games over six days on the docket. All but two of the contests will be at home inside Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
The week begins with the home opener at Lamson Park on Tuesday, Feb. 23 vs. Eastern Illinois at 4:30 p.m. The matchup is highlighted by head coach Gerry Glasco and his daughter, EIU head coach Tara (Glasco) Archibald, coaching against one another collegiately for the first time.
The busy stretch continues on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at Lamson Park with a single game vs. McNeese, and will be followed by a combination of six games against Louisiana State, Buffalo and Oklahoma State from Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 25-28.
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