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Softball: Cajun fans relish shot to play LSU

Softball: Cajun fans relish shot to play LSU

Softball: Cajun fans relish shot to play LSU

Dan McDonald

BATON ROUGE – A lot of University of Louisiana softball fans stayed around at LSU’s Tiger Park Friday night to watch the host Tigers race past Princeton 5-0 in the late game of the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament.
They wanted to make sure the matchup they’ve been anxiously awaiting would actually come to pass.

"This has been a long time coming," said Samuel Orphe of St. Martinville. "I’d really like to see them play often."

They’ll play today, with the Ragin’ Cajuns and the Tigers squaring off in the winners’ bracket finals of the regional. The matchup is set for 1 p.m. in front of what is already a sold-out stadium.
The 15th-ranked Cajuns made their way to today’s game with a 2-0 win over North Carolina State in Friday’s opening game, but will be the underdogs against the 12th-ranked and regional top-seeded Tigers.

"It’s great. We get to beat LSU," said Jim Pollock of Lafayette, who said he’s seen all of UL’s games this year except for a recent Sun Belt series at Middle Tennessee.

Both teams are perennial NCAA Tournament participants, and the winner of today’s game has the inside track on a berth in the NCAA Super Regional – one step away from the Women’s College World Series.

Today’s winner advances to a 1 p.m. Sunday game as the only unbeaten squad in the double-elimination event. The loser of the matchup has to play at 7 p.m. tonight against the N.C. State-Princeton winner in an elimination game, and will then have to win two games Sunday to advance to the Super Regional.

"I think they’re pretty closely matched," said Marsha Weber of Jeanerette. "It could be anybody’s game."

"They’re pretty evenly matched in pitching," Orphe said. "The one that makes the least mistakes is going to win."

Many fans of both teams were hoping only for an incident-free day. Verbal sparring between fans of the two teams created a tense situation when the teams last met in NCAA regional play in Lafayette in 2002.

"Hopefully, everybody will behave and let them decide it on the field," said Lafayette’s Donna Delahoussaye, who played for Girouard from 1984-86.

"I think the Cajuns are going to take this," said Cliff Matte of Crowley, "but I just want to see a good, clean game on both sides without interference from fans."

Originally published May 20, 2006