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Softball: Cajuns Announce Four New Transfers and Begin Fall Practice

LAFAYETTE – Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball announced Wednesday the addition of four transfers who joined the program at the start of the Fall 2017 semester.
 
The group of newcomers includes utility player Alissa Dalton (Oklahoma), outfielders Kalyn Watts (Southeastern Louisiana) and Raina O'Neal (Texas Tech) and infielder Cori McCrary (Jones County JC).
 
Louisiana opens the team portion of fall practice on Thursday, Oct. 5 at Lamson Park. Intrasquad scrimmages at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. are open to the public.
 
"I love the players that we have added, they are great athletes, good students, hard workers, tough and awesome teammates," Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball head coach Michael Lotief said. "The fall is one of my favorite parts of the season because you get to evaluate each players' talents and skills, but it's also fun to watch a new group interact and learn to care about each other and our Cajun values."
 
Dalton is a sophomore who appeared in 31 games (29 starts) with two-time defending national champion Oklahoma in 2017. She hit .326, posted nine extra base hits and generated 18 RBI in her collegiate debut season.
 
The Cy-Fair (Texas) High School product was ranked No. 34 in FloSoftball's Top 100 for the class of 2016 and was a member of the 2017 USA Women's Junior National Team.
 
Watts, who comes in as a senior, competed last season at Southeastern Louisiana and began her collegiate career at Jones County JC. She earned NJCAA All-American honors as a sophomore at Jones County and was a two-time All-Region 23 selection. She launched 18 home runs and posted 75 RBI during her two-year stay at JCC.
 
O'Neal played her freshman season at Texas Tech and started all 55 games for the Red Raiders. She produced seven doubles, three triples and a team-leading 12 home runs. A native of Richmond, Texas, O'Neal was a dual sport athlete (softball/track and field) at Fort Bend Travis High School.
 
McCrary has two years of eligibility remaining after spending the previous two seasons at Jones County JC. Last season, she batted leadoff for the Bobcats with a .396 average, producing 82 hits and scoring 78 runs. She led the MACJC and was 11th nationally in stolen bases (35).
 
"Our team leadership has done a great job welcoming and orientating this group to our standards and culture," Lotief said. "We cannot wait to get out on the field together and play the game we all love."
 
For more information on Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball, as well as all of Ragin' Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/RaginCajunSoftball),Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsSoftball).


LAFAYETTE – The 2018 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball team took in its first team practice of the fall season on Thursday at Lamson Park.
 
The Ragin' Cajuns, in search of the program's 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, return five starters from last season's lineup, led by All-Americans DJ Sanders and Aleah Craighton, and 2017 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year Alyssa Denham is back in the pitching circle.
 
"The fall is one of my favorite parts of the season because you get to evaluate each players' talents and skills and watch a new group interact and learn to care for each other," Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball head coach Michael Lotief said. "We are excited to be back on the field together, playing the game we all love."
 
In lieu of fall games, the Ragin' Cajuns will play intrasquad scrimmages at Lamson Park throughout the fall practice period. Stay tuned to the team's social media channels for further updates.
 
The Ragin' Cajuns, 47-8 during the 2017 season with a Sun Belt-record league mark of 23-1, are preparing for the 16th season under Lotief's guidance.
 
A total of 19 players return from the 2017 squad and they are joined by 12 newcomers (eight freshmen, four transfers).
 
Sanders (29 home runs) and Craighton (18 home runs) are seniors and return as the top run producers, Kara Gremillion enters her junior season after locking down the hot corner at third base the past two seasons, junior Lexie Comeaux is coming off an all-region worthy campaign behind the plate and senior Kelli Martinez joins Craighton in providing veteran leadership in the outfield.
 
One of Louisiana's goals leading up to February will be to replace the leadership and consistent production of career .360-plus hitter Haley Hayden.
 
Denham, a Top 25 finalist for NFCA Freshman of the Year with two wins over Top 5 teams (Alabama, Texas A&M) last season, recorded 15 victories and a 2.27 ERA in her debut campaign. Other veteran arms joining her as Louisiana seeks to replace the efforts of former SBC Pitcher of the Year and All-American Alex Stewart include: Kylee Jo Trahan, Alison Deville and Summer Ellyson.
 
Last season, Louisiana claimed its fourth straight Sun Belt Conference championship, the 15th overall in the 17 years of league competition since 2001, and repeated as the league's postseason tournament champion. The 2017 squad also secured the program's 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, extended the string of 40-win seasons to 19 straight and had the program competing for an NCAA Regional championship for the 10th consecutive year.
 
Season ticket renewals for the 2018 season are currently underway, lasting until Oct. 27. Ragin' Cajuns Softball season ticket holders should find an invoice on their Account Manager at RaginCajuns.com and should have received printed copies via mail.
 
The 2018 Ragin' Cajuns Softball home schedule at Lamson Park features 32 games over 22 dates, plus the Sun Belt Tournament. The lineup is highlighted by two February tournaments, a three-game series with 2017 national runner-up Florida (Feb. 17-18) and visits from NCAA Tournament participants Illinois-Chicago (Mardi Gras Classic), Minnesota (Louisiana Classics) and Texas State (April 14-15).
 
For more information on Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball, as well as all of Ragin' Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow along with the team on Facebook (/RaginCajunSoftball),Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@RaginCajunsSoftball).
 
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