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Softball: Rapid Response Allows No. 14 Louisiana to Rebound, Even Series With Texas State
Four-run first inning helps Ragin’ Cajuns shake off the sting of series-opening defeat
LAFAYETTE – After a late-game momentum shift resulted in a loss to start the day, No. 14 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball quickly turned the tables on Texas State in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park to even the Sun Belt Conference series between the two teams.
Louisiana (33-7, 15-2 Sun Belt) produced four runs in its first at bat of the nightcap highlighted by a two-run home run from Julie Rawls. It was a quick response to a five-run uprising by the Bobcats (27-7, 9-4 Sun Belt) over the final two innings of the opener that gave the visitors a 5-1 win.
A pair of solo home runs by Karly Heath stretched the lead out and Summer Ellyson held Texas State in check with 11 strikeouts over the first five innings to lead the Ragin' Cajuns to a 7-3 win.
The Ragin' Cajuns' response in Game 2 was swiftly delivered, beginning two batters into the game. With one out, Kaitlyn Alderink doubled, was promptly brought home on a Jade Gortarez single, and then Rawls delivered the big blow with the home run off of the right field scoreboard.
Those events chased Texas State starting pitcher Jessica Mullins, the game-one winner, who was attempting to repeat her efforts from the opening contest.
Heath's homers later increased the lead to 6-0, adding what proved to be valuable insurance after the Bobcats managed to scratch three runs over their final two at bats.
Ellyson (14-4, 2.48 ERA) delivered the veteran-type performance need in the circle for a quick recovery. She wound up striking out 12 batters, her highest total in Sun Belt play this season, and carried a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning.
The win allowed Louisiana the opportunity on Sunday to keep its nation-leading streak of consecutive conference series won – presently at 61 straight dating back to March 2013 – intact.
- The Game 2 win marked the 88th career victory for Summer Ellyson – the fifth-most recorded in program history – moving her within two of becoming only the fifth Ragin' Cajuns pitcher to reach 90 career victories.
- The 12 strikeouts posted by Summer Ellyson marked her second double-digit effort of the month of April (had season-high 13 on April 6 at Sam Houston).
- Karly Heath picked up the first multiple-home run game of her collegiate career. Heath has hit five home runs so far in her debut season with Louisiana, matching the combined total over two years at South Carolina.
- Kaitlyn Alderink extended her current hitting streak to nine games with the double in Game 2 that sparked the first-inning uprising. During the streak, Alderink is batting .542 (13-for-24) and has collected six doubles (one in each of the last three outings).
- Julie Rawls took over the team lead in home runs by picking up No. 8 in the opening inning of Game 2. Rawls has posted six of the home runs in the month of April.
- Since the calendar flipped over to April, Julie Rawls is batting .359 with six home runs and a team-best 19 RBI. The run production has increased her current season RBI total to 43, marking the second time she's reached 40 as a Ragin' Cajun and leaving her six RBI shy of her career-high total (49 RBI in 2019).
- Kandra Lamb tallied eight strikeouts in Game 1 marking the 13th time in 18 starts she's posted at least five strikeouts. It was the 10th time that she's reached eight strikeouts.
- The three-hit effort by Ciara Bryan in Game 1 pushed her season hits total to 62, marking the first time in her collegiate career she's reached 60 hits in a single season.
- The Game 1 loss marked the Ragin' Cajuns first defeat since March 20 at UT Arlington, and it was only the second time in 25 occurrences that the team lost when leading after five innings.
- The seven runs scored in the Game 2 victory improved Louisiana to 28-0 when scoring at least five runs.
- For the first time since April 2018 at UT Arlington the Ragin' Cajuns were dealt a Sun Belt series-opening loss.
- In the Gerry Glasco era, the Ragin' Cajuns are undefeated (5-0) in the rubber match of a three-game Sun Belt series. In 2018, Louisiana defeated Coastal Carolina, Texas State, Georgia Southern and UT Arlington with the series on the line, and did the same this season at UTA on March 21 – all to keep the consecutive conference series won streak alive (now at 61 straight).
No. 14 Louisiana and Texas State will reconvene on Sunday (April 18) at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park to determine the series winner. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m.
Live video coverage is available on ESPN, and Ragin' Cajuns fans can also follow along on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM and at CajunStats.com.
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