O’Neal’s return, Lamb’s brilliance spark series-opening win over Coastal Carolina
Raina O’Neal’s return and Kandra Lamb’s brilliance spark series-opening win over Coastal Carolina
LAFAYETTE – The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team extended its home winning streak to eight games and maintained its lead in the Sun Belt Conference standings following a 6-0 win over Coastal Carolina on Friday, April 29 at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
The victory was headlined by Raina O’Neal who returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 27 and delivered a triple, home run and two RBI, plus the dominance of Kandra Lamb in circle who carried a perfect game into the seventh inning.
O’Neal posted an RBI triple in the game’s first inning and the Ragin’ Cajuns (36-11, 18-4 Sun Belt) were well on their way to the series-opening win over Coastal Carolina (18-25, 4-15 Sun Belt) was Lamb was in lockdown mode needing only 76 pitches to complete the shutout.
Louisiana opened its final home series of the season in style and kept pace with South Alabama who also captured a Sun Belt win on Friday night.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Lamb set the tone early by opening with back-to-back strikeouts, then Sophie Piskos tripled ahead of O’Neal to set up the early strike.
The Ragin’ Cajuns kept the pressure on early as in the second inning Laney Credeur homered and Kayla Falterman later squeezed in a run to capitalize off a Chanticleers miscue, stretching the lead to 3-0.
Kaitlin Beasley-Polko settled down Louisiana’s bats the next two innings to take a three-run game into the fifth inning. However, in the fifth inning home runs from Stormy Kotzelnick and O’Neal upped the Ragin’ Cajuns lead to 5-0 and chased her from the game.
A leadoff double from Melissa Mayeux in the bottom of the sixth inning set up Credeur’s RBI single for the final tally. Coastal relievers Nicolette Picone and Mady Volpe worked out of a runners on second and third with no outs situation to avoid the run rule.
The Chanticleers wouldn’t go away quietly as they sprinkled three hits in the seventh inning to spoil Lamb’s perfect-game bid.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE BOX SCORE
O’Neal (2-for-3, triple, HR, 2 RBI) stepped into the batter’s box for the first time in 62 days when the Ragin’ Cajuns were at the Youngsville Mardi Gras Mambo in late-February. She collected her first triple and home run of the season.
Piskos, who started the early rally with a triple, stretched her season-best hitting streak to eight games.
Credeur (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) posted her fifth home run of the season and third multiple-RBI outing. She produced a run in two of her three plate appearances.
Kotzelnick homered for the first time since April 8 and increased her team-leading total of extra base hits to 26 (13 doubles, 6 triples, 7 home runs).
As a team, Louisiana totaled seven extra base hits in the contest (2 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs). The squad reached 90 doubles and 60 home runs for the season, while increasing its triples total to 22 which is the program’s highest mark since the record 31 hit in 1995.
Lamb (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) turned in her team-best fifth complete game shutout and was an inning shy of her second perfect game and fourth no-hitter of the season.
The pitching performance continued the resurgence of Lamb in the month of April. Since starting with 4-1/3 innings of no-hit relief at McNeese on April 6, she has yielded only five runs (four earned) and 16 base hits while limiting foes to a .128 average over the last 36-2/3 innings worked.
Lamb (9-4, 1.66 ERA overall) improved to 5-1 in Sun Belt Conference play and lowered her pitching staff-best total in league play in ERA to 1.44 and opposing average to .154.
Louisiana concludes its 2022 season home schedule, celebrates Senior Day and wraps up the weekend series with Coastal Carolina on Saturday, April 30 in a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park.
The team will recognize its seniors, Melissa Mayeux, Raina O’Neal and Ari Quiñones, in a pregame ceremony that is set to begin at 1:30 p.m.
It’s also “Thank a Teacher” Day at Lamson Park with teachers from all grade levels receiving two (2) complimentary tickets with a school ID.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are seeking to extend their nation-leading total of consecutive conference series won, which began in March 2013, to 72 straight.
Both games of the doubleheader at being aired on ESPN+ with Dan McDonald and Yvette Girouard on the call. A radio broadcast with commentary from Steve Peloquin and Bobby Neveaux is being carried on ESPN Lafayette 103.3 FM and 1420 AM in the Acadiana region and worldwide via the ESPN Lafayette app. Live stats can be accessed at CajunStats.com
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