On the heels of an impressive showing at the Bubly Invitational in Gainesville, Florida, the No. 23-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns opened the first week of Sun Belt Conference play by taking two out of three against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
With weather delaying the first of this three-game series, the Cajuns and the Eagles played a doubleheader on Saturday, March 18.
Louisiana fell behind early after sophomore third baseman Stormy Kotzelnick drove in the first run of the ballgame in the top of the second inning via an RBI groundout to second base, scoring Karly Heath from third, one of three runs scored by the senior designated hitter.
Despite giving up three-earned runs in the bottom half of the second and being temporarily subbed out for freshman pitcher Chloe Riassetto, senior starter Meghan Schorman bounced back nicely to hold Southern Miss at bay for the rest of the contest.
Schorman, who last week blanked the No. 11-ranked Florida Gators in Gainesville, Florida, completed seven innings of work despite the substitution and didn’t allow another run after the second inning. She struck out nine and walked three.
The Cajuns were able to tie the game in the fourth behind Kotzelnick’s two-run single with the bases loaded, her second and third RBIs in game one. A passed ball would allow freshman first baseman Lauren Allred to score from third, putting Louisiana on top 5–4.
Three insurance runs were tacked on in the seventh inning. Sophomore second baseman Alexa Langeliers’ RBI double, Heath’s RBI triple and Allred’s RBI single put the Cajuns up 8–4, a line Louisiana would hold on to for the win.
Schorman earned her seventh win of the season. Freshman center fielder Mihyia Davis recorded her team-high 26th stolen base in the contest.
The Cajuns followed game one with an even more dominant performance in game two, defeating Southern Miss 12–1 behind 15 hits.
Heath led off the top of the second with her team-leading sixth home run to left center and 22nd run batted in. Junior catcher Sophie Piskos followed with a two-run blast of her own to left field, her second home run this season. Piskos continued the scoring her next at-bat in the third with an RBI single to right field, extending Louisiana’s lead to 4–0.
The Cajuns posted back-to-back four-run innings in the fifth and sixth. Pinch hitting for Davis with the bases loaded, sophomore outfielder Samantha Graeter laced an RBI single to left, which helped set the scene for junior Jourdyn Campbell’s pinch-hit bases-clearing double, blowing the game open 8–1 in the fifth.
In the sixth, sophomore outfielder Kayla Falterman’s RBI single and freshman shortstop Kylei Griffin’s two-run single helped put the game out of reach 12–1.
Sophomore starter Sam Landry notched her seventh win of the year, temporarily matching Schorman for the team lead. Landry allowed one-earned run on two hits while punching out six Golden Eagles.
The sticks got the job done handily for the Ragin’ Cajuns in Saturday’s doubleheader, but timely, late-game hitting helped Louisiana seal the deal Sunday to complete the sweep.
Six pitches into Sunday’s game three, Heath lined a solo blast to center, her second of the weekend and seventh of the year. Doing double duty, Heath started the game on the circle for Louisiana, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts and four walks in three and two thirds innings pitched.
Down 2–1 in the sixth, Campbell came up big with another pinch-hit two-run single to put the Cajuns back on top. Both Piskos and Allred added two-run singles of their own in the inning.
Aided by two errors and four walks, Louisiana scored nine runs on four hits in a massive sixth inning to pull away from the Golden Eagles 10–2.
Schorman entered the circle in the fifth and recorded her eighth win for Louisiana. She pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and punching out five.
The Ragin’ Cajuns, now 21–9 on the year, will return home to Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park for the second weekend of conference play against the Appalachian State Mountaineers with the first pitch of game one set for Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. CST.