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Softball: Cajuns Road to OKC Continues at Lamson Park

 

2014 NCAA Lafayette Super Regional
Date: May 23-24
Location: Lafayette, La. (Lamson Park)
Radio: ESPN 1420 (Steve Peloquin & Bobby Neveaux) Live Stats:  www.NCAA.com
TV:  ESPNU (Melissa Lee & Kayla Braud)
Times: Friday – 8 p.m., Saturday – 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. (if nec)

 

Lafayette Super Regional Central
Game Notes

 

Lafayette Super Regional Schedule
Friday
Game 1 – Louisiana vs. Arizona – 8 p.m.

 

Saturday
Game 2 – Louisiana vs. Arizona – 2 p.m.
Game 3 (if necessary) – Louisiana vs. Arizona – 5 p.m.
*Home team is bold

 

Odds & Ends
The Ragin’ Cajuns are 63-48 all-time in the NCAA tournament, winning all three games this season in the Lafayette Regional.
This is the fifth Super Regional in school history and the first time the Ragin’ Cajuns have hosted.
The Cajuns have advanced to an NCAA Super Regional in four of the last five seasons and five of the last seven. This is the second Super Regional the Cajuns will share with a team hailing from the Republic of Arizona, falling to Arizona State in 2012.
The Cajuns have advanced to one WCWS since the Super Regionals started, defeating Houston in three games in 2008. 
Louisiana is 4-7 in Super Regional games, losing the third game of the series in the past two seasons.
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 last time the Ragin’ Cajuns lost an NCAA Tournament game at Lamson Park was the 2002 Lafayette Regional when they fell to LSU, 5-2, to be eliminated from the tournament.

 

What’s On Tap? The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will play in their third straight NCAA Super Regional when they host the Arizona Wildcats on the road to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla.  The winner of the three-game series will advance to the 2014 WCWS.  The Cajuns have advanced to the WCWS five times and are on a quest to make it back for the first time since 2008.

 

About the Opponent: The Wildcats come into the game with a 44-14 record, after going 3-1 in the Tucson Regional, needing a second game on Championship Sunday to get past LSU.  The Wildcats defeated Boston University, 8-6, and LSU, 9-8, to advance to the regional championship round.  LSU got the best of the ‘Cats in the first game on Sunday, defeating Arizona 5-1, before Arizona overwhelmed the Tigers with a 13-5, mercy-rule victory.  Arizona boasts the most powerful roster in the nation as the only team with more home runs per game than the Cajuns, averaging 1.83 home runs per game (106 overall), and a slugging percentage of .645, also the best in the nation.  They are led by six players with 10-or-more homers, including Chelsea Goodacre (22), and Katiyana Mauga (19).

 

Bombs Away: The Cajuns and Wildcats boast two of the top offenses in the nation coming into the weekend,  especially in the power categories.  Arizona is the NCAA leader in home runs per game with 106 total homers, averaging 1.83 per game.  The Cajuns are second in the nation, just behind Arizona with 1.52 homers per game.  Arizona also holds the national lead in runs per game with 7.69, with the Cajuns coming in tenth with 6.57 per game. 
Cajuns vs. the Field: The Ragin’ Cajuns hold a 6-2 record against teams in the Super Regional rounds, defeating Baylor three times, Oklahoma twice and Michigan once.  Including their three games in the NCAA Lafayette Regional, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns are 15-8 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.

 

Nearing A Milestone: Head coach Michael Lotief currently sits at 594 wins in his 12-year career, just seven 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.

 

Super Coaching in Super Regionals: The Lafayette Super Regional features the second-most wins in a Super Regional between the two coaches combined in the 2014 Super Regional rounds, behind only the NCAA Norman Super Regional, featuring Patty Gasso (976) from Oklahoma and Ralph Weekly (1,164) of Tennessee.  Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is the winningest active coach in D-I softball, with 1,387 wins, followed by Michigan’s Carol Hutchins at 1,371.

 

Site        Total Wins           Coach    Wins      Coach    Wins
Norman               2,140     Patty Gasso (OU)             976         Ralph Weekly (Tenn.)    1,164
Lafayette             1,981     Michael Lotief (UL)          594         Mike Candrea (Arizona)                1,387
Tallahassee         1,792     Lonni Alameda (FSU)      421         Carol Hutchins (Mich.)   1,371
Tuscaloosa          1,716     Patrick Murphy (Bama) 865         Rhonda Revelle (Neb.)  851
Athens 1,592     Lu Harris-Champer (UGA)            896         Glenn Moore (Baylor)    696
Gainesville          964         Tim Walton (Florida)       608         Heather Tarr (Wash.)     356
Los Angeles        587         Kelly Inouye-Perez (UCLA)          346         Rachel Lawson (UK)        241
Eugene 417         Mike White (Oregon)     275         Jessica McAllister (Minn.)             142

 

 

Cajuns in the Super Regionals: This is the Ragin’ Cajuns fifth Super Regional appearance. Here is how they have fared in the previous four:
Year       Site        Opponent           Game 1                Game 2                Game 3
2008       Houston               Houston               W, 6-4   L, 3-6     W, 4-0 (Cajuns to WCWS)
2010       Los Angeles        UCLA     L, 2-10   L, 1-10   N/A
2012       Tempe  Arizona State     W, 6-0   L, 3-9     L, 0-8
2013       Ann Arbor           Michigan              L, 3-4 (8 inn)       W, 5-0   L, 1-2
2014       Lafayette             Arizona – –            – –            – –

 

The Week That Was: The Ragin’ Cajuns won their third-straight NCAA Regional, going 3-0, defeating Texas Southern, 7-4 on Friday, and Texas twice, first 4-3 on Saturday, and then in the Regional Championship game, 10-1 on Sunday. The Cajuns jumped to an early lead against Texas Southern with a second-inning homer from Shellie Landry, and put the game away with a third-inning, three-run home run from Shelbi Redfearn.  The second game came down to the wire with Texas leading 2-1 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning.  Redfearn hit a bases-loaded single to tie the game, and two batters later, Sara Corbello drew a walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count to bring in the winning run and send the Cajuns to the Regional Championship.  The Cajuns enjoyed a much-less drama filled game in the championship, defeating Texas 10-1, behind a pair of home runs from Lexie Elkins, a three-run shot from Kelsey Vincent and three more RBI from Redfearn, to advance to the fifth Super Regional in school history.

 

Manifest Destiny: The Cajuns have seen good success against teams west of the Mississippi River, going 25-3 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 18-0.

 

Compiling the Accolades: On 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 Fernandez, Haley Hayden, and Shellie Landry on the All-SBC First Team, and Shelbi Redfearn and Kelsey Vincent earned All-SBC Second Team honors. 

 

Walk it Out: The 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 Walkoff: The 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 Park: The Cajuns have hit three grand slams in the past 18 games, with Shellie Landry hitting two and Samantha Walsh hitting the other.  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.

 

Another 40-Win Season for Lotief: The Cajuns won their 40th game of the season against ULM in game two of the doubleheader on May 3, marking the 12th straight season that head coach Michael 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 four 50-win seasons in 2005, 2008, 2011 & 2012, and a 60-win season in 2004.  The last time the Cajuns failed to win 40-or-more games was the 1991 season, when they went 33-10, but were still selected to the NCAA Regional Field.

 

Winning the Sun Belt: The 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. 

 

Getting Offensive: The Cajuns boast the 10th-most potent offense in the NCAA this season, averaging 6.57 runs per game.  That mark tops the Sun Belt, with Georgia State coming in second with 5.05 runs per game.  The Cajuns run output can be credited to the nations second-best 1.52 home runs per game and their 11th-ranked slugging percentage (.522).

 

We’ve Got the Power: The Ragin’ Cajuns have out-homered their opponents 85-to-40 this season, en route to the nations second-best 1.52 home-runs per game, behind Arizona (1.83).  The Cajuns have gotten home run support from the meat of their lineup, with the 2-3-4-5-6-7 hitters in the order combining for 73 home runs on the season.  The group is led by Lexie Elkins (20), and Haley Hayden (15), batting third and second in the lineups, 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.

 

Quadruple-Double of Homers: The Ragin’ Cajuns have four players with 10-or-more homers in Lexie Elkins (20), Haley Hayden (15), Shelbi Redfearn (15), and Samantha Walsh (10).  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 Actives: Here is where Cajuns senior,  Natalie Fernandez ‘s career stats rank among active players:
                ##           D-I          Overall  D-I Leader           ##
Games Played   232         23rd       26th       Destinee Martinez, Oklahoma   245
Batting Average                .399        27th       —             Karley Wester, Notre Dame        .464
Runs Scored       190         5th         13th       Jennifer Gilbert, Ball State           215
Hits        250         15th       25th       Jill Barrett, Tulsa               322

 

 

Wallace Among Actives: Here is where Cajuns junior,  Jordan Wallace ‘s career stats rank among active players:
                ##           D-I          Overall  D-I Leader           ##
Victories              73           24th       29th       Hannah Rodgers, Florida               121
Strikeouts           685         26th       37th       Whitney Canion, Baylor 1,450
Strikeouts/7 inn.              8.81        6th         20th       Miranda Kramer, IPFW  10.14
Shutouts              16           45th       – –            Sara Moulton, Minnesota            47

 

What’s Next? The winner of the Lafayette Super Regional will advance to the 2014 Super Regional rounds, taking on the winner of the Los Angeles Super Regional, hosted by UCLA.  Either the Cajuns or the Wildcats will take on the winner of No. 3 UCLA and No. 14 Kentucky.
www.RaginCajuns.com

 

Nick Ross
Sports Information Assistant
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