LAFAYETTE – 20th-ranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball captured a 7-1, 5-4 (8 inn.) doubleheader sweep of South Alabama on Good Friday as the two squads opened an Easter Weekend series at Lamson Park.
Summer Ellyson struck out nine and Kourtney Gremillion's two-run home run in the fifth inning snapped a tie lifting Louisiana (22-7, 9-2 Sun Belt) to the win in the opener.
In the nightcap the Ragin' Cajuns collected their 11th come-from-behind triumph, rallying twice. Beth Ashley forged a tie with a three-run home run in the sixth inning, then in the eighth inning Alissa Dalton doubled home the tying run and scored the game-winner in a thrilling rundown at the plate.
Louisiana captured its fourth Sun Belt series victory in as many attempts. It was the 41st consecutive SBC series win dating back to March 2013.
The Ragin' Cajuns extended their winning streak at Lamson Park to eight games.
UP NEXT No. 20 Louisiana and South Alabama (18-16, 5-5 Sun Belt) conclude the series on Saturday at Lamson Park with a 1 p.m. single game.
Fans can listen to the contest on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM in the Acadiana region and worldwide on the ESPN 1420 app. A live video stream, produced by the Ragin' Cajuns Digital Network, will be available at RaginCajuns.com/Watch.
THE BASICS OF GAME 1 Louisiana's eight base hits came from eight different batters. Kourtney Gremillion and Kelli Martinez, who added to the lead with a two-run single in the sixth inning, led the way with two RBI apiece.
Ellyson scattered five hits and only once allowed a base runner past second base (solo homer in fourth inning).
Ashley picked up the first of four RBI she'd collect in the twinbill with a two-out single in the first inning for an early 1-0 lead. The score remained that way until Brittani Reid's solo homer in the fourth inning drew the Jaguars even.
Gremillion's two-run home run in the fifth inning pulled Louisiana ahead to stay and ended Devin Brown's string of scoreless innings pitched.
The Ragin' Cajuns gave Ellyson ample breathing room in the sixth inning, adding to the lead only three batters into the frame. Dalton singled and Ashley walked, then Lexie Comeaux ripped a double into center field to score Dalton. An errant throw off a line drive, which negated a potential double play, factored into an additional three runs being added increasing the margin to 7-1.
THE BASICS OF GAME 2 Louisiana's Casey Dixon and South Alabama's Alexis Reid were locked in a classic pitcher's duel four innings into the contest.
USA took advantage of a pair of walks in the fifth inning to break the scoreless tie. A Kaleigh Todd double and Haleigh Lowe single followed the walks and led to a three-spot for the visitors.
Similar to Game 1, the first two Cajuns batters reached in the sixth inning as Kara Gremillion walked and Dalton singled. Ashley ended Reid's stronghold by launching a three-run homer deep into the left field bleachers.
The Jaguars briefly reclaimed the lead on Reid's second homer of the day leading off the eighth inning. Dalton triggered the Cajuns second comeback of the contest by doubling into left center to score Gremillion (leadoff walk) and draw a 4-4 tie.
Three batters later Dalton, who moved to third on the throw to home, broke for home off a grounder to third base by Casidy Chaumont and successfully wiggled her way out of the rundown when Savanna Mayo dropped the throw on the second attempt to tag her out at home.
Ellyson, who replaced Dixon in the seventh inning, earned the win in relief giving her both wins in the doubleheader. Dixon held the Jaguars to four hits and struck out six in her five innings of work.
Dalton was 3-for-4 at the plate for her team-leading 11th multiple-hit game of the season. Ashley's game-high three RBI marked her team-best sixth multiple-RBI outing.
NOTEWORTHY - Of the Ragin' Cajuns 11 come-from-behind wins, five have come in Sun Belt play. In addition to Saturday's nightcap, Louisiana rallied twice in series wins at Coastal Carolina and Troy. - Summer Ellyson's nine strikeouts in Game 1 marked her eighth appearance with five-plus strikeouts. It's the third time in the past three week's she's eclipsed eight strikeouts. - With three strikeouts in relief in Game 2, Summer Ellyson reached 100 strikeouts this season – first time in her career reaching the plateau. - With home runs in both ends of the doubleheader, the Ragin' Cajuns have now homered in seven of the past 10 games (dates back to March 11 at Coastal Carolina). - Holding South Alabama to one run in Game 1 marked the 17th time this season Louisiana's pitching staff held the opposition to two runs or fewer. - The three-run home run in Game 2 marked the second straight weekend series Beth Ashley has homered. - Alissa Dalton continues to thrive at Lamson Park. The sophomore transfer from Oklahoma was 4-for-7 in the doubleheader upping her season average at the facility to .444 (32-for-72). - Louisiana extended its series win streak over South Alabama to eight games. The Ragin' Cajuns captured the Sun Belt series from the Jaguars for the ninth time in 12 meetings.
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