FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TROY, Ala. – 14th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball collected a second straight Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship and the 14th overall in program history with a 12-0 (5 inn.) win over Texas State on Saturday at the Troy Softball Complex.
With the win, and the Sun Belt’s automatic bid, the Ragin’ Cajuns (45-6) secured the program’s 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 27th overall in the last 28 seasons. Louisiana will continue to be part of a group – which included nine schools at the start of the season – that has appeared in each NCAA Tournament since 2000.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will learn of their NCAA Tournament assignment for the regional round on Sunday at 9 p.m. (CDT) during the NCAA Softball Selection Show live on ESPN2. NCAA Regionals are scheduled for Friday-Sunday, May 19-21 at campus sites.
Senior pitcher Alex Stewart (25-3, 1.66 ERA), who was named the Community Coffee Tournament Most Outstanding player, put the finishing touches on a dominant week in Troy by tossing four shutout innings and holding Texas State (41-15) to two hits.
Stewart, who pitched shutout softball for the sixth time in the past seven starts, recorded all three wins in the Ragin’ Cajuns tournament championship run. In 18 innings of work she allowed only two runs, seven hits and struck out 20.
After capitalizing on Bobcats miscues in building a 5-0 lead after one inning, it was Beth Ashley’s pinch-hit two-run single and DJ Sanders’ bases-clearing double that delivered the final blow in the third inning by moving lead into double figures.
Louisiana defeated Texas State for the second straight season in the SBC Tournament final (won 12-0 in 5 inn. in Mobile in 2016). The program picked up consecutive championships for the first time since 2010-11.
The Ragin’ Cajuns will now enter the NCAA Tournament on a 13-game winning streak and winners of 28 of the last 29 games since their last loss in regulation play back on March 9 vs. Baylor (span of 66 days).
After Stewart posted her first scoreless frame in the game’s initial inning, the Cajuns loaded the bases off of Texas State starting pitcher Jodi Paige Williams with no outs.
Lexie Comeaux drove a single into left field to plate Kara Gremillion (leadoff walk) for the game’s first run. The Bobcats elected to replace Williams with Randi Rupp and after a foul pop up appeared on the way to escaping the inning with only one run scored.
However, on back-to-back grounders from Corin Voinchè and Kassidy Zeringue the Bobcats would commit a defensive miscue and the result was four additional runs crossing the plate giving Louisiana a 5-0 lead.
The last chance for Texas State to cut into Louisiana’s lead came in the third inning when Christiana McDowell led off with a double. Stewart struck out Kimberlin Naivar and retired Ariel Ortiz (fly out) and Jaelyn Young (ground out) to keep the shutout intact.
Louisiana sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third and scored six runs, highlighted by the key hits from Ashley and Sanders, to stretch the advantage to 11-0.
Freshman pitcher Alyssa Denham finished off the shutout with a scoreless fifth inning. After a pair of Bobcats walks to lead off, she retired three straight batters including a strikeout looking for the championship-clinching out.
Source- Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Sports Information