No. 19 Louisiana (0-0) hosts 36th Annual Louisiana Classics
Dates: Friday-Saturday, Feb. 11-13, 2022
Location: Lafayette, La.
Stadium: Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park
Fri., Feb. 11 – vs. UAB (DH), 4:00 p.m. (CST)
Sat., Feb. 12 – vs. North Texas, 1:00 p.m. (CST)
Sat., Feb. 12 – vs. Texas Southern, 3:30 p.m. (CST)
Sun., Feb. 13 – vs. Tulsa, 12:00 p.m. (CST)
TOURNAMENT CENTRAL [ragincajuns.com]
SEASON NOTEBOOK [ragincajuns.com]
Rosters: Louisiana [ragincajuns.com] | UAB [uabsports.com] | North Texas [meangreensports.com] | Texas Southern [tsusports.com] | Tulsa [tulsahurricane.com]
Television (Sunday only): ESPN+ [espn.com] | Talent: Dan McDonald [ragincajuns.com], PxP; Brennan Breaux, analyst
Radio: ESPN Lafayette [espnlafayette.com] 103.3 FM // 1420 AM | Talent: Steve Peloquin, PxP; Bobby Neveaux, analyst
Live Stats: CajunStats.com [statbroadcast.com]
Twitter Updates: @RaginCajunsSB [twitter.com]
>> The new-look Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball team makes its official 2022 season debut from Friday-Sunday, Feb. 11-13 at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park, hosting the 36th Annual Louisiana Classics tournament.
>> The Ragin' Cajuns went from a roster in 2021 that was predominantly sixth-year and fifth-year players to a group in 2022 that includes eight freshmen and 12 total newcomers. The current group is ready to begin writing their chapter of success in the program's storied history.
>> Louisiana enters the fifth season of the Gerry Glasco [ragincajuns.com] era.
>> The weekend brings the much-anticipated debut for Louisiana's 2021 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 1 by Extra Inning Softball and includes the No. 4-rated recruit in pitcher Sam Landry [ragincajuns.com] and the No. 15-ranked prospect in Louisiana native Maddie Hayden [ragincajuns.com].
>> The 36th Annual Louisiana Classics marks the start of a season-opening, seven-game homestand at Lamson Park for the Ragin' Cajuns that will continue with weekday games against Nicholls on Feb. 15 and No. 2 Alabama on Feb. 24
>> Beginning with the Louisiana Classics this weekend at Lamson Park, the 19th-ranked Ragin' Cajuns are set to play the entire month of February inside or near the city limits of Lafayette, following up the current homestand with a visit to Youngsville's Sports Complex for the Mardi Gras Mambo (Feb. 25-27).
>> The season opener on Friday, Feb. 11 marks a reunion for Louisiana head coach Gerry Glasco [ragincajuns.com] when he meets former Ragin' Cajuns assistants Joe Guthrie and Courtnay Foster, who now lead the UAB program. It's the first time Guthrie and Foster visit Lamson Park as members of the Blazers' staff.
Louisiana was preseason ranked in all four major national polls: No. 19 in Softball America, No. 22 in D1Softball and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll.
Louisiana, the two-time defending Sun Belt regular-season and tournament champion, was selected as the favorite to win the 2022 Sun Belt Conference softball title in a vote of the league's 10 head coaches.
Kandra Lamb [ragincajuns.com], Raina O'Neal [ragincajuns.com] and Sophie Piskos [ragincajuns.com] were voted onto the 2022 Sun Belt Conference Softball Preseason All-Conference Team.
Kandra Lamb [ragincajuns.com] represented Louisiana Softball on the Extra Inning Softball Elite 100 list and Sam Landry [ragincajuns.com] was named on of D1Softball's Top 75 Impact Freshman. The duo was ranked among D1Softball's Top 150 Players.
With the exception of Sophie Piskos [ragincajuns.com] at catcher, and Raina O'Neal [ragincajuns.com] returning in center field, the Ragin' Cajuns will likely be debuting a new starter at every other position.
Louisiana is set to begin a transition in the pitching circle with the departure of former All-American and Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year Summer Ellyson [ragincajuns.com]. After working alongside Ellyson last season to lead the Ragin' Cajuns to repeat champions in the Sun Belt, Kandra Lamb [ragincajuns.com] takes her turn as the pitching staff's leader.
NUMBERS TO KNEAUX
12: Number of players set to make their Ragin' Cajuns debut in the 2022 season.
17: Career-high wins posted by Kandra Lamb [ragincajuns.com] in the 2021 season.
37: Louisiana is scheduled to play 37 games this season within the state of Louisiana's borders.
51: Career extra base hits total for Raina O'Neal [ragincajuns.com] (includes 27 home runs), who has hit .300-plus and slugged .500-plus all three previous seasons with Louisiana.
During the 2021 season, the Ragin' Cajuns reached the 40-win mark for the 22nd consecutive completed season, closing out the regular season winning 25 of the final 29 games, and advanced to Championship Sunday of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. Louisiana repeated as Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament champions highlighted by an 11-1 record, regular season and tournament combined, against the league's other three NCAA Tournament participants (Texas State, Troy and South Alabama).
Moving forward into the 2022 season, Louisiana is armed with the nation's No. 1-ranked recruiting class of the 2021 recruits by Extra Inning Softball including the No. 4-rated recruit in pitcher Sam Landry [ragincajuns.com] and No. 15-rated recruit in outfielder Maddie Hayden [ragincajuns.com], has first team All-Sun Belt performer Kandra Lamb [ragincajuns.com] back in the circle seeking to pick up where Summer Ellyson [ragincajuns.com] left off, and welcomes back Raina O'Neal [ragincajuns.com] and Taylor Roman [ragincajuns.com] and their power bats back to the lineup.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE RAGIN' CAJUNS
Infield: Ready to be Louisiana's next primary catcher, Sophie Piskos [ragincajuns.com] is back with her infectious energy and enthusiasm and is ready to build upon last season's strong finish (hit .429 from April 20 onward). Back from injury, Taylor Roman [ragincajuns.com] could man the first base bag plenty along with Washington transfer Stormy Kotzelnick [ragincajuns.com]. Power 5 transfers Ari Quiñones [ragincajuns.com] (Washington) and Jourdyn Campbell [ragincajuns.com] (Texas A&M) appear to be the front runners at second base and third base, respectively. Both senior Melissa Mayeux [ragincajuns.com] and freshman Alexa Langeliers [ragincajuns.com] are expected to get opportunities at shortstop. Mayeux could rotate around the infield at the other three spots.
Outfield: The Ragin' Cajuns get their "rock" in center field back in Raina O'Neal [ragincajuns.com]. O'Neal, who missed the final three months of the 2021 season due to injury, provides a tremendous boost defensively and offensively (has hit .300-plus and slugged .500-plus all three previous seasons with Louisiana). Senior Jenna Kean [ragincajuns.com] has had an exceptional fall and preseason practice period, potentially shoring up a spot in right field - and will be the team's primary speed option in the stolen base department. Freshmen Kramer Eschete [ragincajuns.com] and Maddie Hayden [ragincajuns.com] could be the newcomers who join the patrol in the outfield, serving as options in left field and right field.
Pitchers: The coaches expect a true "pitching staff" in the circle to be the norm throughout the season. Kandra Lamb [ragincajuns.com], who pitched a three-hit shutout of LSU in her final start of the 2021 season, is ready to take her turn as the leader. Kentucky-transfer Meghan Schorman [ragincajuns.com] and freshman Sam Landry [ragincajuns.com] are expected to round out the rotation of "starters" with Lamb. Schorman was off to a 7-1 start with a 1.30 ERA before the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, while Landry was the No. 4-rated recruit by Extra Inning Softball and shined in last summer's Premier Girls Fastpitch (PGF) High School Senior All-American Game. Vanessa Foreman [ragincajuns.com] and Karly Heath [ragincajuns.com] should play a role in relief assignments to further deepen the staff approach.
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