STATESBORO, Ga. – No. 23 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball scored in every inning in recording an 11-3 (6 inn.) win in Game 1, then Georgia Southern used a six-run second inning to take the lead for good and capture a 12-10 win in Game 2 as the two teams split a Sun Belt Conference doubleheader on Saturday, March 19 at Eagle Field in Statesboro, Ga.
Louisiana (16-8, 3-2 Sun Belt) scored 10 unanswered runs in the opener, erasing an early 3-1 deficit, to claim its win in the twinbill.
Kramer Eschete got the Ragin’ Cajuns headed in the right direction with an RBI double in the second inning, then in the third inning, Taylor Roman (3-for-3, double, 2 RBI) flipped the scoreboard in Louisiana’s favor with a two-run bases-loaded single for a 4-3 advantage.
Two more runs were added in the third inning extending the lead to 6-3, then the Ragin’ Cajuns got the leadoff batter on from the fourth through sixth inning to keep the pressure on the Eagles (7-14, 2-3 Sun Belt) and push across five more runs.
Sam Landry (6-2, 2.65 ERA) settled in after Georgia Southern utilized a pair of home runs to generate a three-run first inning, not allowing a hit the remainder of her appearance. Landry retired the side in order in two of the final three innings she worked in the circle before giving way to Kandra Lamb who pitched two scoreless innings to wrap up the game.
Both teams traded three runs early in the nightcap as the Eagles benefitted from wild pitches in the bottom of the first and the Ragin’ Cajuns started a trend of clutch two-out hitting in the top of the second with an RBI double from Melissa Mayeux followed by a two-run home run from Karly Heath.
A first-pitch home run in the home half of the second inning sparked the Eagles’ six-run frame that opened a 9-3 lead for the hosts and ultimately proved to be the difference in the contest.
Louisiana posted five hits with two outs – four for extra bases – in the fourth inning to draw closer. Runs scored on another home run from Heath (2-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI), a solo shot from Eschete and an RBI double from Stormy Kotzelnick (3-for-3, 2 RBI) to slice the Georgia Southern lead to 9-7.
A second three-run home run from the Eagles’ Janai Conklin followed in the bottom of the fourth, extending the lead to 12-7 and quickly derailing the Ragin’ Cajuns momentum. It also created enough separation to offset a three-run rally from Louisiana in the sixth inning.
Louisiana finished 10-for-16 in two-out hitting situations and totaled 10 extra-base hits. In addition to Heath homering twice, Kotzelnick, Mayeux, and Sophie Piskos each doubled twice.
Saturday’s doubleheader marked the first time in the 2022 season that the Ragin’ Cajuns competed outside the state of Louisiana’s borders. The squad had played the first 22 games in the state.
With the win in Game 1, the Ragin’ Cajuns kept alive the program’s streak of never incurring a losing streak longer than two games in the Gerry Glasco era. Georgia Southern’s win in Game 2 snapped Louisiana’s eight-game win streak in the all-time series.
NUMBERS TO KNEAUX
1: Kramer Eschete picked up her first collegiate home run in the fourth inning of Game 2.
3: Jourdyn Campbell has hit at least one home run in three of the last six outings.
5: With her home run in Game 1, Jourdyn Campbell moved into a tie for the team lead with five home runs (with Alexa Langeliers, Sophie Piskos).
9: Louisiana generated nine two-out RBI in Game 2.
10: Total number of unanswered runs that Louisiana scored in erasing an early deficit and winning Game 1.
10: Number of base hits, with two outs on the scoreboard, recorded by the Ragin’ Cajuns in Game 2.
11: Maddie Hayden extended her current hitting streak to 11 games which is tied for the team’s longest of hit streak of the season (with Stormy Kotzelnick).
13: Of the 25 base hits Louisiana posted in the entire doubleheader, there were 13 that went for extra bases (9 doubles, 4 home runs).
19-3: Louisiana’s lead in the all-time series with Georgia Southern following Saturday’s results.
36: The two teams combined for 36 runs scored in the doubleheader.
.417: The Ragin’ Cajuns batting average in the doubleheader (25-for-60).
.767: Slugging percentage for Louisiana in the twinbill, collecting 46 total bases over 60 at-bats.
No. 23 Louisiana and Georgia Southern meet to decide the series winner on Sunday, March 20 at Eagle Field in Statesboro. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. (CDT).
The Ragin’ Cajuns will attempt to extend their nation-leading streak of consecutive conference series won, which currently stands at 65 straight dating back to March 2013.
The series finale is being broadcast on ESPN+. Fans in the Acadiana region can listen to the games on ESPN Lafayette 103.3 FM and 1420 AM with Ian Auzenne and Bobby Neveaux providing commentary. Live stats can be accessed at CajunStats.com.
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