The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns softball program continued its excellent stretch into their first Sun Belt Conference matchup against the Georgia State Panthers last weekend. They opened the series on Friday, March 11 to an attendance of nearly 1,500 fans. As the team had only dropped games to nationally ranked Alabama and LSU, expectations continued to be high.
Both teams’ bats remained quiet in the first and second innings. The Panthers’ junior third base Bailee Richardson opened the scoring in the third with a single up the middle, and sophomore catcher Carolyn Deady would add an insurance run in the fourth with a solo home run off a 2–2 pitch count. The Cajuns answered with a first-pitch homer from freshman shortstop Alexa Langeliers to put the game at 1–2.
Deady would hit another solo home run to put the game out of reach in the seventh, and freshman left fielder Chloe Middlebrooks would score the last run, mercifully ending the game at 1–4.
The Sisyphean struggle of pitching this game for the Cajuns fell to All-Louisiana award-winning junior Kandra Lamb. Take into account that this was a six-inning, 132-pitch outing, and three earned runs start to sound like a reasonable expectation. Couple it with next to no run support, though, and pitching at any level of the sport becomes a nightmare and a near-guaranteed mark in the loss column (just ask Felix Hernandez).
The Cajuns’ next game on Saturday would see both teams kick into high gear early and put major pressure on the starting pitchers. A bases-loaded walk would open the scoring in favor of the Cajuns in the first inning. Four huge home runs would follow in the second and third: for the Panthers, a leadoff from junior first base Sophie Mooney and a two-run homer to left field courtesy of Richardson; and for the Cajuns, a first-pitch three-run shot to left from sophomore catcher Sophie Piskos, followed by a center-field homer from freshman second base Stormy Kotzelnick.
The Cajuns would continue to pour on runs in the fourth and fifth with two more home runs from sophomore third base Jordyn Campbell and freshman center fielder Maddie Hayden. The Panthers would attempt to mount a comeback in the sixth inning, scoring two unearned runs off of two separate infield errors. The push would soon fizzle out, and the final score would stand at 10–6.
Sun Belt Pitcher of the Week, junior Meghan Schorman, started and was credited with the win for the Cajuns, and fellow junior Vanessa Foreman closed the game with no earned runs through three innings.
The final game of the series on Sunday saw the Cajuns dominate in a fashion they typically reserve for small in-state teams. The game would feature no Panthers runs and would end 9–0, featuring three home runs across four innings from Piskos, freshman first base Taylor Roman, and junior outfielder Karly Heath respectively. Piskos would end the game with an impressive two hits, two runs, and a stolen base.
The entire shutout was handled by Lamb, who managed 18 at-bats in 76 pitches with just three hits allowed and five strikeouts mixed in.
These wins bring the team’s record to 15–5, tied for best overall in the SBC, and help validate the national-level ambitions that this team and fanbase carry.