Cajuns open Sun Belt play with doubleheader sweep in Hattiesburg
Offense drives Ragin’ Cajuns to securing program’s 74th consecutive SBC series victory
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The No. 23-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team overpowered Southern Miss with a 24-hit attack over two games combined that produced an 8-4, 12-1 (6 inn.) doubleheader sweep of the Golden Eagles on Saturday, March 18 as the two teams began Sun Belt Conference Opening Weekend at the USM Softball Complex.
The sweep provided Louisiana (20-9, 2-0 SBC) with the series victory, securing the program’s 74th consecutive Sun Belt series won dating back to March 2013. The now 10-year old streak is the nation’s longest active streak of consecutive conference series won.
The offensive highlights for the Ragin’ Cajuns was headlined Karly Heath hitting for the doubleheader cycle. Heath singled and later tripled home an additional insurance run in the seventh inning of Game 1, then in Game 2 homered to start the scoring and collected a double in her final at bat of the day.
Stormy Kotzelnick posted game-high honors with three RBI in the opener capped off by a key two-run single in the fourth inning the evened the score and sparked the completion of Louisiana’s comeback from a 4-1 deficit. On the next at bat, a ball got away from USM catcher Hannah Borden after Kotzelnick’s single pushing across the go-ahead run.
Sophie Piskos charged the Ragin’ Cajuns offense in the nightcap with a 4-for-4 showing that netted her three RBI. She provided Louisiana with early separation from USM (15-8, 0-2 SBC), following Heath’s home run in the second inning with a two-run blast of her own that made it 3-0 and an inning later delivering an RBI single for an early four-run edge.
Louisiana peppered USM pitching for nine hits over its final two at bats of Game 2, putting the game out of reach with key pinch hits from Samantha Graeter (RBI single) and Jourdyn Campbell (three-run double) in the fifth inning and run-scoring hits from Kayla Falterman and Kylei Griffin which triggered back-to-back, four-run innings to end the night.
In the circle the Ragin’ Cajuns received timely dominant stretches from both Meghan Schorman (7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 9 K) and Sam Landry (6.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 6 K).
Schorman pitched five consecutive scoreless innings after regaining command of the strike zone following USM’s four-run second inning of Game 1, and protected the lead after the Kotzelnick-led, four-run fourth gave the Cajuns the lead again by yielding just two bunt singles the rest of the way.
Landry held her ground after the Golden Eagles placed runners in scoring position over the first two innings and pushed across a single run in the third inning. She retired eight straight batters after USM’s tally and took a one-hitter into the final inning.
Saturday’s sweep also kept Louisiana undefeated all-time at the current USM Softball Complex, which opened in 2002, with a 9-0 record. Louisiana improved to 47-5 all-time vs Southern Miss and claimed victory in the first-ever conference meetings between the two programs.
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
No. 23 Louisiana and Southern Miss conclude the three-game Sun Belt Conference series on Sunday, March 19 with a 12:00 p.m. single game at the USM Softball Complex in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
The Ragin’ Cajuns seek their first 3-0 start to Sun Belt play for the first time since 2019.
Sunday’s contest will also close out the current stretch in which Louisiana will have played 13 out of 14 games away from Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park to start the month of March.
The Cajuns-Golden Eagles series finale is set to air on ESPN+ with Jason Baker providing commentary and radio coverage, featuring the call of Cody Junot and Bobby Neveaux, is being provided by 103.3 FM The Goat and the Varsity Network. Live stats can be accessed at CajunStats.com.
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