Softball: Ellyson Shines and Offense Closes Strong as Softball Claims Series
Ragin’ Cajuns shutout Texas State in rubber match, extend streak of consecutive Sun Belt series won
LAFAYETTE – No. 14 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns Softball captured the series victory over Texas State after Summer Ellyson controlled the visiting Bobcats' offense and a flurry of runs in the final at bat led to an 8-0 (6 inn.) win on Sunday at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park. Ellyson (15-4, 2.35 ERA) struck out seven as she crafted a one-hit shutout of the Bobcats. The Ragin' Cajuns (34-7, 16-2 Sun Belt) managed to break free from a 1-0 affair in the sixth inning – and end the game by run rule – by sending nine batters to the plate and pushing across seven runs without a single out being recorded. With the win Louisiana kept alive its nation-leading streak of consecutive conference series won, claiming its 62nd consecutive Sun Belt Conference series victory dating back to March 2013. The Ragin' Cajuns assured themselves of remaining all alone atop the Sun Belt standings, maintaining a one-game lead over Troy in the loss column and stretching the lead over Texas State in the loss column to three games. Taking the series from the Bobcats (27-8, 9-5 Sun Belt) marked the second straight weekend that Louisiana claimed a series from one of the Sun Belt's former front-runners, following up a series sweep of Troy on the road from April 11-12. Louisiana immediately forced the issue and took hold of the lead in Sunday's winner-take-all series finale. Ciara Bryan led off with a walk, stole second base forcing an errant throw that moved her to third base, and scored on a Kaitlyn Alderink RBI single for a quick 1-0 edge. From the second through fifth innings, it was Ellyson and Texas State's Jessica Mullins swapping zeroes both having thrown less than 70 pitches in the contest at that point. The Bobcats lone threat to Ellyson came in the fourth inning when a leadoff single led to a sacrifice bunt that put the potential tying run in scoring position. The veteran righty stood her ground by retiring sluggers Tara Oltmann and Sara Vanderford consecutively, closing with a strikeout of Vanderford in a nine-pitch battle. With Mullins having retired 12 of the last 13 batters she faced entering the sixth inning, the Ragin' Cajuns turned to the bunt in an attempt to create a spark and avoid another empty frame. Melissa Mayeux laid down a perfectly placed bunt racing to the first base bag before it was fielded, and from there on the hitting became contagious. Bryan came up next and launched a towering two-run home run over the scoreboard in right field that opened a 3-0 lead. The blast jumpstarted the game-ending scoring spree that also included two-run singles from Julie Rawls and Karly Heathand lastly a walk-off squeeze bunt from Jenna Kean. DIAMOND NOTES
Louisiana finished with a 5-1 mark in back-to-back Sun Belt series against the two teams, Troy and Texas State, who were previously undefeated in league play and leaders of the league standings following Easter Weekend (April 2-3).
For the second time this season, and sixth time overall in the Gerry Glasco era, the Ragin' Cajuns claimed the rubber match of a Sun Belt Conference series to keep alive their nation-leading string of consecutive conference series won.
In 2018, Louisiana defeated Coastal Carolina, Texas State, Georgia Southern and UT Arlington with the series on the line, and did the same previously this season at UTA on March 21.
The walk-off sequence in the sixth inning saw the Ragin' Cajuns string together seven consecutive hits in succession starting with Melissa Mayeux's leadoff bunt single.
Ciara Bryan's stolen base in the first inning, that set up the game's first run, was her team-leading 23rd swipe of the 2021 season. It's the first 20-plus stolen base campaign of her collegiate career.
With the RBI single in the first inning, Kaitlyn Alderink extended her current hitting streak to 10 games – her longest streak as a Ragin' Cajun.
Julie Rawls' two-run single during the sixth-inning scoring barrage increased her season RBI total to 45, moving her four RBI within her career-high total and on the doorstep of the first 50 RBI campaign of her collegiate career.
Julie Rawls, who for the season is hitting an astounding .462 with runners in scoring position, has generated a team-leading 21 RBI in the month of April.
For the second straight game, Karly Heath recorded a multiple-RBI outing. Adding in her two solo home runs from Game 2 of the series, Heath finished the weekend with a team-high tying four RBI (matched Julie Rawls).
Summer Ellyson did not yield a walk to the Bobcats and retired the visitors in order all but one inning. She began the game with nine consecutive batters retired, finishing the string with three consecutive strikeouts.
Summer Ellysonworked 13 innings in the circle during the series and limited the Bobcats to three runs, allowed only nine hits, didn't issue a walk, and struck out 19. She held the Texas State offense to a .188 average.
Sunday's triumph marked the 89th career victory for Summer Ellyson – the fifth-most recorded in program history – moving her within one of becoming only the fifth Ragin' Cajuns pitcher to reach 90 career victories.
Louisiana posted a series victory over Texas State for the seventh time in as many tries since the Bobcats joined the Sun Belt Conference in 2014. The Ragin' Cajuns hold a 17-4 advantage in regular season SBC meetings.
Louisiana improved to 40-7 all-time vs. Texas State which includes a 22-5 mark at Lamson Park.
UP NEXT No. 14 Louisiana remains at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park and closes out its April homestand on Tuesday (April 20) with a 4 p.m. single game against Louisiana Tech. The meeting the Lady Techsters is a makeup for a contest originally scheduled for March 24 but was postponed by inclement weather. Live video coverage is available on ESPN, and Ragin' Cajuns fans can also follow along on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM and at CajunStats.com. FOLLOW THE RAGIN' CAJUNS Follow the Ragin' Cajuns on Facebook (/RaginCajunsSB), Twitter (@RaginCajunsSB) and Instagram (@Louisiana.SB) to stay up-to-date on all that is happening with Louisiana Softball.