Softball: Cajuns Drop Series Rubber Game to No. 4 Alabama
Landry belts game-tying homer in seventh
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Haylie McCleaney’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning scored pinch-runner Andrea Hawkins and lifted No. 4-ranked Alabama to a 3-2 victory over the fifth-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns softball team on Sunday at Rhoads Stadium.
Alabama (15-4) built a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Demi Turner and led 2-1 in the top of the seventh until Louisiana’s Shellie Landry belted a game-tying, two-out home run off Sydney Littlejohn (7-0).
After Sara Corbello tied the game for Louisiana (15-2) at 1-1 in the sixth with an RBI grounder that scored Meagan Thomas, Alabama took a 2-1 lead in the sixth after Turner reached on an infield single off Jordan Wallace (6-1) and moved to third when Danielle Richard reached on an error by Kelsey Vincent. Jadyn Spencer later reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Turner.
"That call was no more significant on a called ball or strike early in the game," head coach Michael Lotief said about the seventh-inning error. "There’s so many plays that go on in a game and to put your target on one play … it belittles the rest of the game. That play had more consequence, but all of those pitches in the game mattered between two good teams that were going at each other."
Louisiana collected hits in the first three innings off Alabama starter Leslie Jury but stranded four runners, including two in the third. Haley Hayden, Leandra Maly and Lexie Elkins each collected base hits for the Ragin’ Cajuns before Elkins added singles in the sixth and seventh inning.
Samantha Walsh added a sixth-inning single for the Ragin’ Cajuns that chased Jury for Littlejohn and the freshman right-hander allowed Corbello’s two-out grounder that tied the game at 1-1.
After Alabama took the lead in the sixth, Littlejohn got Kelli Martinez to pop out to third for the first out in the seventh before catching Hayden on a called third strike. Landry then tied the game after belting a 3-and-1 pitch from Littlejohn over the left-field fence for her team-leading eighth home run of the season.
Elkins led Louisiana at the plate going 3-for-4. Wallace allowed six hits and two earned runs for the Ragin’ Cajuns, fanning three batters in the contest.
Chandler Dare went 2-for-2 to lead Alabama at the plate with Turner and Hays adding one hit each. Littlejohn pitched two innings in relief for the Crimson Tide, allowing two hits and fanning four.
Louisiana will return to action on Saturday when it opens Sun Belt Conference play at No. 24 South Alabama in a three-game series in Mobile.