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Softball: Cajuns Begin Women’s College World Series with Kentucky

Softball – Cajuns Begin Women’s College World Series with Kentucky

 2014 Women’s College World Series
Date: May 29-June 4
Location: Oklahoma City, Okla. (ASA Hall of Fame Stadium)
Radio: ESPN 1420 (Steve Peloquin)
Live Stats:  www.NCAA.com
TV:  ESPN2
Time: First Round – 6 p.m. vs. Kentucky
Game Notes
National Tournament Bracket

Odds & Ends
·         The Ragin’ Cajuns are 6-10 in Women’s College World Series games, making their sixth appearance all-time, and first since 2008.  Louisiana advanced to the WCWS in 1993, 1995, 1996, 2003 and 2008.
·         The Cajuns went 3-2 in their first ever WCWS, finishing in a tie for third with UCLA.
·          Louisiana is 65-48 all-time in the NCAA tournament, winning all five games this season in the Lafayette Regional and Super Regional. 
·         The sweep of Arizona in the Super Regionals was the first time the Cajuns advanced to the WCWS with a Super Regional sweep…this is the second time the Cajuns have advanced to the WCWS through a Super Regional, defeating Houston in three games in 2008.
·         The Cajuns went 4-2 in the NCAA tournament last season, sweeping the Baton Rouge Regional and going 1-2 in the Ann Arbor Super Regional.
·         The Ragin’ Cajuns are 13-4 in the NCAA tournament in the past three seasons, sweeping three-straight regional tournaments, and going 4-4 in Super Regionals.
·         The Cajuns hold a 5-1 record this season against teams in the WCWS and a 47-31 record all-time against the field.
What’s On Tap? The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will head to Oklahoma City for their sixth Women’s College World Series in school history and first since 2008, where they will take on No. 14 Kentucky on Thursday, May 29 at 6 p.m. in the first round.  The Cajuns had a flawless trip through the NCAA Regional and Super Regional, hosting both at Lamson Park and going 5-0 with a win against Texas Southern (7-4), two wins against Texas (3-2, 10-1), and a two game sweep of Arizona in the Super Regionals, defeating Arizona 5-3 and 7-1.  The Cajuns and Wildcats are paired up with No. 7 Oklahoma and No. 2 Alabama for a second round matchup. The winners will play at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, and the losers will play at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Getting OffensiveThe Cajuns enter the WCWS with one of the best offenses in the field, leading all remaining teams in home runs (88), home runs per game (1.52), fourth with 6.55 runs per game, and are fifth with a .521 slugging percentage. Sophomore Lexie Elkins (22 homers) is second among players in the WCWS in home runs, trailing Maddie O’Brien of Florida State (23), but is tied with O’Brien for the most per game, with 0.39 per game.
Against the WCWSThe Cajuns hold a 5-1 record this season against teams in the Women’s College World Series and a 47-31 record all-time. Here is how they have performed against each individual team:

Team All-Time Last Meeting Result 2014 Last 5 Years
Alabama Tied 3-3 March 4, 2011 W, 1-0 – – Cajuns lead 1-0
Baylor Cajuns lead 10-6 April 22, 2014 W, 7-4 Cajuns lead 3-0 Cajuns lead 3-0
Florida Cajuns lead 4-0 May 29, 2008 W, 3-2 – – – –
Florida State Cajuns lead 9-7 Feb. 24, 2006 W, 14-0 – – – –
Kentucky Cajuns lead 3-0 March 3, 2012 W, 5-4 – – Cajuns lead 1-0
Oklahoma Cajuns lead 15-11 March 15, 2014 W, 3-1 Cajuns lead 2-1 Cajuns lead 2-1
Oregon Ducks lead 5-3 March 5, 2011 L, 2-5 – – Ducks lead 1-0

Cajuns vs. the National TourneyThe Ragin’ Cajuns hold a 5-1 record against teams that advanced to the WCWS, going 8-2 against teams in the Super Regionals with two wins against Arizona. Including their five games in the NCAA Lafayette Regional and Super Regional, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are 17-8 against teams in the NCAA Tournament field of 64, playing 20 regular season games against tournament teams, winning 12 of those.  Along with the six wins against the Super Regional teams, the Cajuns defeated South Alabama three times, and Ohio, Chattanooga and Hofstra.  All eight of the Cajuns’ losses this season have come against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tourney.
Cajuns in the World SeriesThis is the Ragin’ Cajuns sixth Women’s College World Series appearance. Here is how they have done in the previous five:

Year Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
1993 CSU-N*, 4-2 Arizona, 1-2 Connecticut, 1-0 Arizona, 1-0 UCLA, 0-1
1995 Michigan, 5-0 UCLA, 0-3 UNLV, 1-5 – – – –
1996 Cal, 0-2 Princeton, 7-0 UCLA, 2-3 – – – –
2003 Texas, 2-3 UCLA, 1-5 – – – – – –
2008 Florida, 3-2 Texas A&M, 1-2 Alabama, 1-3 – – – –

* Cal. State – Northridge
Nearing A MilestoneHead coach Michael Lotief currently sits at 596 wins in his 12-year career, just five wins behind his wife, Stefni Lotief, who won her 600th career game in the 2012 NCAA Regional Championship game against Stanford.  Michael won his 500th career game in the Cajuns’ next game, a 6-0 victory over Arizona State in the Super Regionals.  Michael Lotief currently ranks 10th all-time in career winning percentage and fifth among active coaches in winning percentage.
Lotief Among the WCWS CoachesThe Cajuns defeated the winningest active coach in NCAA Softball in the Super Regional, sweeping Arizona and head coach Mike Candrea (1,387 wins), to get head coach Michael Lotief‘s 595th & 596th career wins, for an average of 49.7 wins per season.  Here is how Lotief ranks among other coaches at the 2014 WCWS:

Coach Wins School Season Wins/Season
Mike White 277 Oregon 5 55.4
Patrick Murphy 867 Alabama 17 51.0
Tim Walton 610 Florida 12 50.8
Glenn Moore 698 Baylor 14 49.9
Michael Lotief 596 Louisiana 12 49.7
Patty Gasso 978 Oklahoma 20 48.9
Lonni Alameda 423 Florida State 11 38.5
Rachel Lawson 243 Kentucky 7 34.7

The Week That WasAfter falling short in game three of the Super Regionals in Tempe (2012) and Ann Arbor (2013), the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns swept Arizona, 5-3 and 7-1, in the 2014 Lafayette Super Regional to advance to their sixth Women’s College World Series in school history. The Wildcats got off to a quick start in the opening game with a leadoff home run, but the Cajuns quickly responded in their half of the first with a two-run home run  bySamantha Walsh.  The Cajuns added to their lead with two more runs in the second and one in the third, and held off a seventh inning Rally by Arizona to win, 5-3.  Much like Arizona did in game one, the Cajuns didn’t wait to get the scoring started, with three runs, including a pair of runs off of a two-run single from Shelbi Redfearn in the top of the first. Arizona cut the lead to two with a solo home run in the second, but the Cajuns went on to win 7-1, scoring one run in each inning from the third to the seventh.  
Manifest DestinyThe Cajuns have seen good success against teams west of the Mississippi River, going 27-3 in those games.  The only three loses to teams west of the Mississippi River have come in two games against Texas in February, and one against Oklahoma in March.  Since the loss to Oklahoma on March 14, the Cajuns have not lost to a team west of them, going 20-0.
We’ve Got the PowerThe Ragin’ Cajuns have out-homered their opponents 88-to-43 this season, en route to the nations second-best 1.52 home-runs per game, behind Arizona (1.83).  The Cajuns are led by Lexie Elkins (22),Haley Hayden (15), and Shelbi Redfearn batting third, second and fifth in the lineup, respectively.  The Cajuns finished the regular season with a 20-home run lead on the rest of the Sun Belt, with Georgia State coming in second with 59.  The 2014 Cajuns became the fifth team under Michael Lotief to hit 80-or-more home runs, and just second since they hit 102 in 2006, with the other time coming last season when they hit 88.
Compiling the AccoladesOn top of their conference-best seven selections to the All-Sun Belt team, the Ragin’ Cajuns won three of the four major awards at the Annual Family Night, with Christina Hamilton winning Pitcher of the Year, Lexie Elkins winning Player of the Year and head coach Michael Lotief winning coach of the year.  Elkins and Hamilton were joined by Natalie FernandezHaley Hayden, and Shellie Landry on the All-SBC First Team, and Shelbi Redfearn and Kelsey Vincent earned All-SBC Second Team honors.  
Walk it OutThe Ragin’ Cajuns have made it interesting at Lamson Park in the second half of the season, winning with four walk-off wins, including a grand slam from Shellie Landry against WKU in the Conference Championship.  Samantha Walsh has the other two walk-off homers, a solo home run against McNeese State in April, and against ULM in the final weekend of the season.  Walsh’s walkoff’s came in back-to-back home games, despite being three weeks apart.  Most recently, the Cajuns defeated Texas to advance to the 2014 Lafayette Regional Championship game, winning 3-2 on a bases-loaded walk to Sara Corbello
More About the WKU WalkoffThe Cajuns defeated WKU in walk-off fashion to win their first round game in the Sun Belt Conference Champions.  The Cajuns entered the inning, trailing 3-1, and got two quick ground outs to start the inning.  Haley Hayden gave the Cajuns extra life with a single, and Lexie Elkins followed that up with a single as well, taking second base as Hayden advanced to third.  That brought up Samantha Walsh, the Cajuns’ hero in two prior late-inning games.  Walsh walked with first base open, loading the bases for Shellie Landry.  Landry fell down 0-2 in the count before taking back-to-back balls, and sent the fifth pitch of the at-bat deep into the bleachers, sending the Cajuns home with the 5-3 win.
A Grand Time at the ParkThe Cajuns have hit four grand slams in the past 18 games, with Shellie Landry hitting two and Samantha Walsh and Shelbi Redfearn hit the other two.  Landry’s second grand slam came in the biggest moment, with two strikes and two outs in the seventh inning against WKU.  Her first came against Troy.  Walsh hit hers later in the SBC Tournament, helping put away the conference semifinal game against ULM. Redfearn’s grand slam was the first of the season, coming against Baylor on Feb. 28 in Gulfport, Miss., in part of a seven-RBI game.
Another 40-Win Season for LotiefWith one more win in the 2014 season, the Ragin’ Cajuns will have won 50 games for the fifth time under head coach Michael Lotief, also doing so in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2012.  They picked up their 40th win of the season against ULM in game two of a doubleheader on May 3, marking the 12th straight season that Lotief has guided the Cajuns to 40-or-more wins, a feat he has never failed to achieve.  Lotief has also led the Cajuns to a 60-win season, coming in 2004.  The last time Louisiana failed to win 40-or-more games was in 1991, when they went 33-10, but were still selected among the NCAA Regional Tournament field. 
What a Year for Athletics at ULWith 49 wins for Ragin’ Cajuns softball and 52 wins for Ragin’ Cajuns baseball, the diamond sports at Louisiana have combined to pass the 100-win mark for the first time in school history.  In fact, Louisiana is just one of two schools in the NCAA who earned a National Seed in both baseball and softball (both six seeds), while also sending a team to the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament (14 seed vs. Creighton), and won a bowl game (New Orleans Bowl).  
Winning the Sun BeltThe Ragin’ Cajuns won both the Sun Belt regular season and tournament championships, their 12th of each, for the first time since 2011.  The Cajuns were the regular season champions in 2012 but fell to South Alabama in the tournament championship, and the Cajuns finished third in 2012, with South Alabama winning their second-straight SBC conference tournament title.  The conference crown was the 16th Conference Championship between the Sun Belt (2000-present) and the Southland (1983-1988).  The Cajuns have failed to win the regular season title in just two seasons since joining the Sun Belt, 2007 and 2013, advancing to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid each season.  
Quadruple-Double of HomersThe Ragin’ Cajuns have four players with 10-or-more homers in Lexie Elkins (22),Haley Hayden (15), Shelbi Redfearn (15), and Samantha Walsh (11).  The Cajuns have now achieved that feat in back-to-back seasons, marking just the second time in the last decade that the Cajuns had four players hit double-digit homers.
Fernandez Among ActivesHere is where Cajuns senior,  Natalie Fernandez ‘s career stats rank among active players:

  ##
D-I
Overall
D-I Leader
##
Games Played
234
18th
20th
Destinee Martinez, Oklahoma
245
Batting Average
.396
32nd

Halie McCleney, Alabama
.464
Runs Scored
190
6th
14th
Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State
215
Hits
251
14th
24th
Jill Barrett, Tulsa
322

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Nick Ross
Sports Information Assistant
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