Early outburst lifts Cajuns to series win over Chanticleers

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CONWAY, S.C. – A pair of big innings early lifted 5th-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball to a 10-2 (5 inn.) win over Coastal Carolina in the final game of the Sun Belt Conference Opening Series between the two teams at St. John Stadium.

The win earned Louisiana (16-6, 2-1 Sun Belt) the series victory, extending the program’s nation-leading total of consecutive conference series won to 56 straight.

The six-run first inning and four-run third inning, which put the Chanticleers (13-7, 1-2 Sun Belt) away, were both sparked by Sarah Hudek who ended the contest with game-high four RBI.

Hudek drilled a bases-loaded single up the middle in the first inning to plate two runs opening a 3-0 edge. Carrie Boswell followed with a two-run double, and quickly it was 5-0 in favor of the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Hudek struck again in the third inning as she followed up a leadoff walk from Julie Rawls with a home run deep to right center increasing the lead to 8-0.

Timely two-out hits starting with a single from Kendall Talley, followed by a run-scoring triple from Alissa Dalton and run-scoring double from Kaitlyn Alderink, added extra cushion that kept the margin in run rule territory despite the Chanticleers plating a pair of runs in the fourth inning.

Hudek led the charge for a group of six Ragin’ Cajuns who posted at least one RBI. Six individuals also had at least one hit, paced by two-hit efforts from Hudek, Alderkink and Talley.

Megan Kleist carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. She struck out five batters and yielded just three hits, all in the fourth inning. Only 56 pitches were needed in the rebound effort after allowing four runs to Coastal on Friday.

The run-rule victory was the fifth this season for Louisiana, and the first since the Feb. 14 contest vs. North Dakota.

DIAMOND NOTES
• Sarah Hudek collected her fourth home run of the season, moving into a tie with Julie Rawls for the team lead.
• Sarah Hudek collected her fifth multiple-hit game and garnered a season-high total in RBI (4).
• Now with 14 RBI, Sarah Hudek is one off of the team lead (Julie Rawls, 15).
• Both Kaitlyn Alderink and Alissa Dalton stretched their present hitting streak to five games – the longest active streaks on the squad. They are both hitting .467 (7-for-15) during the streak.
• Alissa Dalton posted her second triple in the past week, and the RBI pushed her season total to 10 making her the fifth Ragin’ Cajun in double digits through the first five weekends.
• Megan Kleist recorded her fourth complete game of limiting the opposition to three hits or less.
• For the first time since April 2018 at UT Arlington, the Ragin’ Cajuns rallied for the Sun Belt series win after dropping the series opener.
• Louisiana moved to 4-2 all-time at St. John Stadium in Conway, S.C., and increased its overall series lead over Coastal Carolina to 12-2.

UP NEXT
The 5th-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns return home to Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park for a five-game homestand, which begins on Wednesday, March 11 with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Sam Houston State.

Following the twinbill with SHSU, Louisiana welcomes Appalachian State to Lamson Park for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series Friday-Sunday, March 13-15. The program will be celebrating Alumni Weekend during the series with the Mountaineers.

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