Ragin’ Cajuns ride late-inning surge to complete series sweep of USM
Louisiana explodes for nine runs in sixth inning to erase deficit and complete successful weekend
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – A 10-pitch walk from Sophie Piskos began a series of 13 straight batters the 23rd-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball team sent to the plate in a nine-run sixth inning that chased away Southern Miss and led to a 10-2 (6 inn.) win that completed a Sun Belt Conference series sweep on Sunday, March 19 at the USM Softball Complex in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Piskos was the first of six straight batters to reach base before an out was recorded as the Ragin’ Cajuns rapidly piled up the runs to erase a 2-1 deficit that carried over into the sixth inning.
Once the bases were loaded the first time it was Jourdyn Campbell serving up another critical hit off of the bench when she dumped a two-run single into right field that gave Louisiana (21-9, 3-0 SBC) the lead again at 3-2.
Single runs off a Kayla Falterman base hit, Mihyia Davis grounder and Karly Heath walk started the separation from the Golden Eagles (15-9, 0-3 SBC), stretching the advantage to 6-2.
Piskos (1-for-3, 2 RBI), who started the rally with the leadoff walk, delivered the knockout punch in her second appearance at the plate in the sixth – a sharp line-drive single to right field that pushed across two more runs to make it 8-2.
Lauren Allred (2-for-3, 2 RBI) was the third Cajun to post two RBI in the blowout inning, her single to center field upping the lead to run-rule territory at 10-2.
Meghan Schorman (2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 K) shook off the inherited runner that crossed the plate – her lone blemish in two scoreless innings of relief – keeping the Golden Eagles from answering in the bottom of the sixth, closing the game with back-to-back strikeouts.
The Piskos-initiated uprising in the sixth inning allowed the Ragin’ Cajuns to flip the game upside down on the Golden Eagles who worked their way to take the lead moments earlier in the bottom of the fifth on Hannah Borden’s RBI double.
Louisiana, which collected its first 3-0 start to SBC play since 2019, navigated a pitcher’s duel between Heath and USM’s Morgan Leinstock before the patient at bats and game-changing swings took over.
Heath (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI) gave the Ragin’ Cajuns an early head start when she homered two batters into the contest. Leinstock locked down afterwards, not allowing a Louisiana runner to advance past second base until the sixth inning.
Heath was equally effective in the circle yielding only one run and two hits with four strikeouts over 3-2/3 innings of work. She retired the first seven batters that she faced and was one out away from making it four scoreless innings before Paris Ferguson’s two-out RBI single put USM on the board.
The Ragin’ Cajuns offense scored in double digits for the second straight outing, paced by two RBI apiece from Heath, Piskos, Allred and Campbell. Louisiana generated 30 runs in the series and on Sunday continued to make the Golden Eagles pay for free passes and miscues.
Sunday’s success kept Louisiana undefeated all-time at the current USM Softball Complex, which opened in 2002, with a 10-0 record. Louisiana improved to 48-5 all-time vs Southern Miss and swept the first-ever conference meetings between the two programs.
UP NEXT FOR LOUISIANA
The Ragin’ Cajuns have a much-awaited weekend at home hosting App State in a Sun Belt Conference series at Yvette Girouard Field at Lamson Park from Friday-Sunday, March 24-26. Louisiana will be celebrating Alumni Weekend which includes a postgame home run derby for those alums in attendance following the conclusion of play on Saturday (March 25).
The series starts on Friday at 6:00 p.m., continues Saturday at 4:00 p.m., and concludes on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. It’s the Mountaineers’ first visit to Lamson Park since the 2018 season.
All three games of the Sun Belt home opener are scheduled to air live on ESPN+, while radio coverage is being provided by 103.3 FM The Goat and the Varsity Network.
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