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Softball: Bertucci, Hill combine to lift Cajuns

UL moves into tie for second with two wins

UL’s softball team needed big performances from one regular source and one unlikely source Saturday, and Lacey Bertucci and Amanda Hill provided those performances.

Bertucci had a three-run homer to bring the Cajuns back from a 3-0 deficit, and Hill had a solid pitching performance over the final four and one-third innings as UL held on for a 6-5 victory over North Texas in the first game of their Sun Belt Conference doubleheader at UNT’s Lovelace Stadium in Denton, Texas.

Buoyed by that performance, UL scored six runs in the first inning of the nightcap and rolled to a 12-3 victory that boosted the Cajuns into a tie for second place in the Sun Belt standings.

UL (41-13, 12-7), winners of 40 or more games for the ninth straight season, goes for a sweep in today’s 1 p.m. series finale.

Bertucci’s 13th homer of the season came in the fifth inning of the opener after North Texas (19-33, 10-13) had taken a 3-0 lead off Cajun freshman starter Brittany Cuevas.

Hill came in for Cuevas the bottom of the third inning, forced a ground ball to strand two runners in scoring position and retired eight straight batters before giving up a tying homer to UNT catcher Christen Jonse.

Hill (1-0), taking the first win of her career, also surrendered a solo homer to Susan Waters in the bottom of the seventh but fanned cleanup hitter Kristina Fowler to lock up the win. Fowler (6-13) took the loss after tossing four shutout innings to open the game.

UL had taken a 4-3 lead in the sixth when Karli Hubbard had a leadoff double for her third hit of the game and scored on Jessica Lemonie’s infield grounder, outrunning a throw to the plate.

After Jonse’s tying homer, the Cajuns scored twice in the seventh, both on infield errors by the Mean Green.

Cuevas (26-7) was touched for three hits and three runs while walking three early in the opener, but she shook off those effects and tossed a complete-game victory in the nightcap. She scattered six hits and allowed two runs while fanning five.

Cuevas got all the support she needed in the first inning of the nightcap, when UL sent 11 hitters to the plate and unloaded for six runs off UNT starter Ashley Lail (10-14).

Desi Chatman and Tara Hamilton had RBI singles, Melissa Verde had a sacrifice fly and Lemoine drew a bases-loaded walk, with two other runs scoring on two errors.

Chatman also had an RBI single in the third and Lemoine poked her first home run of the season in the sixth, a two-run shot that pushed the lead to 10-1.

UL moved into a tie with Middle Tennessee for second place in the Sun Belt Conference standings, both at 12-7, with Saturday’s sweep. Troy, idle this weekend, leads the conference with a 14-7 mark.