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Softball: Ciara Bryan Delivers as Louisiana Softball Claims Another Showstopper
Walk-off magic hands the Ragin’ Cajuns another SBC series win
LAFAYETTE – With two outs in the seventh inning, Ciara Bryan took the second offering from South Alabama relief pitcher Olivia Lackie and sent it sailing into the corner in left field for an RBI double that broke a scoreless tie and allowed No. 16 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns to walk off with a 1-0 win on Saturday at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
The game-winning tally was set after Kandra Lamb, who dominated in the circle with a career-high 12 strikeouts, induced an infield pop up in the top half of the final frame to strand a Jaguars runner at third base.
Kendall Talley immediately followed with a leadoff single in the home half of the seventh and was promptly placed into scoring position by a textbook sacrifice bunt from Karly Heath.
A strikeout got South Alabama within an out from sending the game to extras, but Bryan came through with a clutch moment for Louisiana (18-6, 4-1 Sun Belt) – her game-winning heroics extending her career-best hitting streak to 17 games.
It was also the second time in as many weekends Bryan produced a game-winning hit in the seventh inning, adding to the two-run home run in the series finale at UT Arlington.
Lamb yielded just three hits to the Jaguars (16-10, 6-2 Sun Belt) and combined with Summer Ellyson to hold the visitors hitless (0-for-4) with a runner on third base and less than two outs. Ellyson induced two critical outs with runners on the corners and no outs in the seventh inning, then Lamb re-entered with the same situation and notched her biggest out of the afternoon.
USA starting pitcher Allie Hughen was dealt a hard-luck defeat after allowing Talley to reach in the seventh inning and score after Lackie entered the contest. Hughen left the Ragin' Cajuns stranded with the bases loaded in the first inning and stopped a runner at third base two more times before the final inning.
By claiming a game from South Alabama by an identical score for the second straight day, Louisiana captured the weekend series – the 58th consecutive Sun Belt Conference series victory dating back to March 2013.
- The 12 strikeouts for Kandra Lamb surpassed her previous season-high of 10 (Feb. 28 vs. Oklahoma State, March 6 at Memphis) and her previous career-high of 11 posted on Feb. 9, 2019 vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
- Kandra Lamb reached double digits in strikeouts for the third time in the 2021 season. It was also the eight time she tallied five or more strikeouts.
- Kandra Lamb upped her season strikeouts total to 78, moving her closer to reaching 100 in a single season for the first time in her career.
- Ragin' Cajuns pitching held the opposition to two runs or less for the 13th time (undefeated when doing so) and collected the staff's seventh shutout of the season.
- For the third straight outing, Louisiana's pitching staff did not yield an earned run. The last earned run allowed came in the second inning of Game 2 at UT Arlington (Saturday, March 20) – a span of 25-2/3 innings.
- Summer Ellyson extended her personal streak of consecutive innings pitched without an earned run allowed to 17-2/3 innings, a streak which began after she re-entered Game 2 at UT Arlington.
- Ciara Bryan's 17-game hitting streak is the longest by a Ragin' Cajun since Brianna Cherry turned one in for the exact amount back in the 2013 season.
- Ciara Bryan is batting .500 (14-for-28) in two-out situations this season, and has tallied seven two-out RBI.
- Louisiana improved to 6-1 in one-run games in the 2021 season, winning just for the third time when scoring less than five runs.
- Behind the pitching of Kandra Lamb and Summer Ellyson, Louisiana's pitching staff is the first in the 2021 season to toss back-to-back shutouts against South Alabama. It's the first time USA has been blanked in consecutive games since April 22-24, 2018 (App State, LSU).
- Louisiana is the first to post back-to-back shutouts of South Alabama in a Sun Belt series since Texas State hurled three straight in April 2017.
- The Ragin' Cajuns extended their winning streak over South Alabama to 14 games – the longest streak in the all-time series.
- Louisiana increased its all-time series lead over South Alabama to 36-11 which includes a 20-2 mark at Lamson Park.
No. 16 Louisiana is scheduled to play a pair of games on Sunday (March 28) at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park, concluding the series with South Alabama at Noon followed by the series opener of the rescheduled series with Georgia Southern (7-11, 0-2 Sun Belt) at 4 p.m.
Live coverage is available through SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM and CajunStats.com.
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