The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns held off the Texas State Bobcats 4-3 on Friday to advance to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship Game. It will be the seventh straight appearance in the championship game.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After getting leadoff hitter Ciara Bryan on in both the first and fourth but unable to score a run. Bryan was caught stealing second base in the first and then was caught off the bag at second in the fourth.
The Ragin’ Cajuns got to Texas State pitcher Meagan King in the top of the fifth.
Justice Milz led off with a double down the left field line two batters later Alissa Dalton reached on a single. Milz though would be thrown at trying to score while Dalton advanced to second. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.
Dalton would score moments later as Kendall Talley drove a pitch down the left field line.
Ragin’ Cajuns starting pitcher Kendra Lamb lasted two and one third innings as she gave up only four hits (all singles) but also hit two batters. Summer Ellyson came in to relieve Lamb.
The Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year got herself into trouble in the bottom of the fifth.
Texas State’s Piper Randolph got a leadoff single to center. Kylie George reached on a fielder’s choice as Randolph was out at second.
Tara Oltmann singled to left field and George advanced to second base. Sara Vanderford then reached on a fielder’s choice as the Cajuns got the force out at second of Oltmann but George managed to advance to third. Vanderford then stole second as Hailey MacKay came to the plate.
The Bobcats first baseman laced a single through the right side of the infield which brought home two runners to Texas State a 2-1 lead.
The Ragin’ Cajuns responded in the top of the sixth.
Bryan singled to left field and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kaitlyn Alderink, and then to third on a groundout by Jade Gortarez.
Milz reached first on a throwing error which allowed Bryan to score. Rawls then singled to left field which drove in Milz.
The Ragin’ Cajuns added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Bailey Curry struck out but reached on a wild pitch. Jenna Kean came in to pinch run for Curry and scored on a double by Sophie Piskos.
That run was needed as Texas State’s Oltmann hit a home run off of Ellyson in the bottom of the frame. Ellyson though recovered to strike out Vanderford for the final out.
BIG NUMBER: 13
The two programs combined to leave 13 runners on base as the Ragin’ Cajuns stranded six players and the Bobcats left seven on base.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Ciara Bryan
The Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year was the only Ragin’ Cajun to get more than one hit as she went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
UP NEXT: Louisiana advances to the SBC Tournament Championship Game. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.