The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball program put itself in the conversation for best team in the Sun Belt Conference early this season with an incredible first week, and has more than earned its place on the national rankings.
Despite having the second fewest games and at-bats played, the Cajuns are leading the SBC in batting average with a .453, slugging percentage at .807 and on-base percentage at .506. The Cajuns’ opponents’ pitching has totaled an 11.56 ERA so far.
The Cajuns bullpen has held to an even higher standard than the bats, throwing five shutouts to help generate a .4 ERA, leading the SBC, and serving up 56 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched for a 54% strikeout rate.
Combined excellence on offense and defense has created a beautiful +54 run differential for the Cajuns. On top of this, they’re putting up some of the purest numbers possible. For example, only 13 of the Cajuns’ strikeouts earned came with batters looking, so rest assured, while Troy’s otherworldly strikeout total of 93 may have more of a wow factor, upon closer inspection, it’s a bit padded compared to the Cajuns’.
The Cajuns started their campaign at home on Feb. 11 with a double-header against the UAB Blazers, both ending in shutouts. The first game went off without a hitch as All-Louisiana pitcher Kandra Lamb cruised to a total eight strikeouts for a 2–0 victory after freshman outfielder Kramer Eschete’s scoring double in the first inning.
The second game saw an embarrassing wealth of offense, with eight different Cajuns players generating a total 21 RBIs, an incredible 12 of them coming off of five different home runs from: sophomore catcher and infielder Sophie Piskos; freshman first baseman and outfielder Taylor Roman; junior pitcher and outfielder Karly Heath; and freshman infielder Alexa Langiers.
This game ended with a monstrous-looking final score, 23–0, which is projected to be the most runs scored this season in any one game by an SBC team. Freshman pitcher Sam Landry started and is credited with the second win. Junior pitcher Meghan Schorman cleaned up both games with no batted balls through four innings and recorded a save in the second matchup.
The next afternoon saw the Cajuns hand out another pair of shutouts to the North Texas Mean Green and Texas Southern University Tigers, with Landry and Schorman recording wins. Again, nearly every bat made noise, with RBI’s from 9 different players and four homers across both games.
Sunday at noon, the Cajuns faced the Tulsa Hurricane. Lamb stole the show this time with a beautiful ten strikeout no-hitter performance, ending the game in five innings. A whole article could be written about just this game, as Lamb only threw 65 pitches to handily end 15 at-bats.
Their final game of the week came against the Nicholls State Colonels on Tuesday, Feb. 15, which actually saw the Cajuns allow the first run of the season in the very first inning. After getting out of the inning, the Cajuns began pouring on runs as usual, including a homer off a full count pitch by Langiers in the third inning to put the game firmly out of reach, as the final score would reach 10–2. Landry took the mound again to record her second win.
Credit has to be given to the fielding in all of these games; only one error through this much softball shows the discipline and energy of the team is at an all-time high.
This is a team capable of putting up SBC-leading offensive stats while walking straight through opponents on defense. Look for these Cajuns to upset a highly-ranked Alabama team come Thursday, Feb. 24.