Ragin’ Cajuns claim 76th straight Sun Belt series victory
HARRISONBURG, Va. – The No. 25-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team stockpiled eight runs in its first two at bats to quickly put away James Madison and cruised to a 9-2 series-clinching win on Saturday, April 1 at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
With Saturday’s triumph the Ragin’ Cajuns (25-10, 7-1 SBC) extended their streak of consecutive Sun Belt Conference series won to 76 straight – the nation’s longest active streak of consecutive conference series victories which dates back to March 2013.
Louisiana wasted little time in locking up the series victory over JMU (20-9, 5-3 SBC), loading the bases four batters into the contest. Lauren Allred then delivered a grand slam to give the Ragin’ Cajuns an early head start and continue the momentum at the plate from the four-run eighth inning that finished off Friday’s series-opening 8-4 win.
Sam Landry (8-4, 2.75 ERA), who struck out seven and did not issue a walk over five innings, shut down the Dukes with a quick 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first that prevented any type of response.
The Cajuns kept the pressure on JMU starting pitcher Kylah Berry in the second inning, loading the bases once more. Before the Dukes could get Berry out of the game there were four more runs pushed across by Louisiana capped off by a two-run single from Stormy Kotzelnick.
Landry (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K) continued her strong start by retiring JMU in order in the second inning, keeping the Ragin’ Cajuns firm grasp on the contest.
The lone blemish on the day for Landry was a two-spot by the Dukes in the third inning that spoiled the shutout bid. Overall, she would face just four batters over the minimum and wound up with her highest strikeout total (7) in SBC play and most since March 3 vs. McNeese at the Longhorn Invitational.
JMU was able to avoid the run-rule defeat as relief pitcher Alissa Humphrey was able to settle down the Ragin’ Cajuns lineup over the final five frames. Louisiana’s last tally of the day came off a Cecilia Vasquez RBI double in the fifth inning.
Allred finished with a season-high five RBI, adding a hit by pitch RBI in the second inning to her run production total. The freshman from Texarkana, Texas is hitting .452 with 22 RBI since March 1 and with Saturday’s performance has taken over the team lead with 25 RBI for the season.
Kotzelnick (2-for-4, 2 RBI) delivered a multiple-hit and multiple-RBI effort for the second straight day, while Vasquez doubled twice in the contest for her first multiple-hit game since Feb. 12.
Kandra Lamb (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K) extended her string of consecutive scoreless innings of relief pitched in the series to three. Lamb struck out five of the seven JMU batters that she faced.
The Ragin’ Cajuns handed the Dukes their second straight home loss – and are the lone visiting team to win in Harrisonburg in the 2023 season – and picked up their own 16th win away from Lamson Park (eight true road wins, eight neutral site wins). Louisiana is a perfect 5-0 on the road in Sun Belt play.
Louisiana is now 3-1 all-time vs. James Madison and claimed the series victory in the first-ever Sun Belt matchup between the two nationally recognized programs.
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
No. 25 Louisiana and James Madison conclude the three-game Sun Belt series at Veterans Memorial Park in Harrisonburg, Virginia on Sunday, April 2 with first pitch slated for 2:00 p.m. (CDT).
The Ragin’ Cajuns seek to become the first team to sweep a three-game conference series from JMU in in Harrisonburg since 2010 when Hofstra swept a Colonial Athletic Association series from April 10-11, 2010.
The series finale is being televised live on ESPN+. Fans in the Acadiana region can keep up with the action with Cody Junot and Bobby Neveaux on the call on 103.3 FM and 1420 AM and worldwide on the Varsity Network. Live stats will be provided at CajunStats.com.
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