Cajuns to await winner of Warhawks-Chanticleers in Sun Belt Softball Championship
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The 2019 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship is down to three teams vying for one chance to dance into the postseason as No. 1 Louisiana, No. 6 Coastal Carolina and No. 8 ULM remain in the title hunt following Friday’s tripleheader at the Bobcat Softball Stadium.
The top-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns took care of business with a 5-2 win over the Chanticleers for their 60th Sun Belt Tournament win, while ULM continued its magical tournament run with a 5-2 triumph over No. 3 UTA to put the Warhawks one game away from reaching the title game for the first time since 2014.
Saturday’s slate sets up with ULM and Coastal Carolina clashing at 10 a.m. CT for the opportunity to meet Louisiana in the title game at 1 p.m. CT.
First-inning fireworks got things going for Louisiana and Coastal Carolina. The Ragin’ Cajuns struck first in the top half with a run but then the Chanticleers answered in their half with a two-run home run by junior first base Kassidy Smith. The homer was Coastal’s sixth in this year’s championship, tying the tournament record with Louisiana’s six home runs in 2004.
The Ragin’ Cajuns responded in the fourth inning with a two-out, two-run single by 2019 Sun Belt Player of the Year Alissa Dalton to take a 3-2 lead. A solo home run from junior outfielder Sarah Hudek and run scored off a wild pitch by senior outfielder Keeli Milligan added insurance runs in the fifth. Junior pitcher Summer Ellyson, the 2019 Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year, made the rally stand as she hurled six consecutive scoreless innings to earn her NCAA Division I-leading 36th victory of the season.
With the win, Louisiana extended its winning streak to 26 games, the second-longest streak in program history, which is now two off the school record of 28 set in 2012.
ULM continued its tournament winning ways in its victory over UTA on the strength of familiar contributions from junior shortstop Jayden Mount and freshman pitcher Adrianna Chavarria. Mount delivered the game’s big hit in the bottom of the third with another three-run home run, this one over the wall in left center field, to break a 1-1 tie. Chavarria continued her impressive work in the circle, going the distance to earn her third tournament win in three days. She boasts a 0.58 ERA, allowing only two earned runs, with 12 strikeouts in 24.0 innings pitched.
UTA advanced to the elimination game with the Warhawks after an 8-0, run-rule victory over Texas State in the first game of the day. The top three spots in the Mavericks’ lineup went a combined 8-for-9 at the plate. The pitching duo of sophomore Randi Phillips (3.1 innings) and freshman Allie Gardiner (2.2 innings) combined for the shutout, allowing only six hits. UTA’s big offensive inning came in the bottom of the third when a couple of Texas State throwing errors along with a pair of RBI singles helped push five runs across to take command of the game.
The 2019 Sun Belt Softball Championship concludes Saturday with Matt Stewart and Francesca Enea calling all the action from Bobcat Softball Stadium. All remaining games are set for live coverage on ESPN+, available online and via the ESPN app, with live statistics on SunBeltSports.org.
2019 SUN BELT SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, May 11
Game 11 – No. 6 Coastal Carolina vs. No. 8 ULM (ESPN+), 10 a.m.
Game 12 – Game 9 Winner vs. No. 1 Louisiana (ESPN+), 1 p.m.
All Times Central and Subject to Change
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