Ragin’ Cajuns win 15th Sun Belt Softball Championship
SAN MARCOS, Texas – The drama that was the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Softball Championship came to a historic conclusion as No. 1 Louisiana won its league-record 15th tournament title with a 1-0 victory over No. 6 Coastal Carolina.
With the win, the Ragin’ Cajuns (50-4, 25-0 Sun Belt) extended their winning streak to 27 games, the second-longest streak in program history, which is now one away from the school record of 28 set in 2012.
The rainy weather did not dampen the championship’s final day that saw Louisiana get on the board first in the bottom of the first inning to score what would turn out to be the game-winning run. Senior third base Kara Gremillion got things going with a perfectly laid bunt single, ultimately advancing to second base on a throwing error. Three batters later, junior shortstop Alissa Dalton delivered a two-out single up the middle to score Gremillion and plate the game’s only run.
In the circle, junior pitcher Summer Ellyson threw another gem to put a stamp on her championship performance and earn Community Coffee Most Outstanding Player honors. Ellyson only allowed two hits and struck out seven in her seven innings of work. The win was her NCAA Division I-best 37th of the season. For the tournament, Ellyson went 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 21 strikeouts.
Coastal Carolina (39-21, 13-14) went on a Cinderella run that included playing six games in three days. The Chanticleers had only played one Sun Belt Tournament game in 2017 prior to this year’s championship. Coastal Carolina defeated No. 7 Georgia Southern, No. 3 UTA, No. 2 Troy and No. 8 ULM in their run to make it to the title game.
The Chanticleers’ win over the Warhawks came earlier on Saturday in a 4-2 extra-inning affair. The game was delayed 70 minutes in the top of third due to lightning with Coastal Carolina leading 1-0. The Chanticleers added a run in the third after the delay. ULM answered with runs of its own in back-to-back innings to knot the game at 2-2.
The score remained tied until Coastal Carolina pushed two runs across in the top of ninth. With two runners in scoring position and one out, senior third base Chelsea D’Avilar executed a sacrifice bunt that scored the third run and freshman outfielder Sydney Guess followed with a sacrifice fly to score the insurance run and send the Chanticleers to their first-ever Sun Belt Tournament title game.
Earning the conference’s automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, Louisiana now await its destination and opponents. The NCAA Tournament field is set to be announced on Sunday, May 12 at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.
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2018 SUN BELT SOFTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Whitney Walton, UTA
Adrianna Chavarria, ULM
Jayden Mount, ULM
Natalie David, Coastal Carolina
Ashley Guillette, Coastal Carolina
Kassidy Smith, Coastal Carolina
Alissa Dalton, Louisiana
Kara Gremillion, Louisiana
Sarah Hudek, Louisiana
Community Coffee Most Outstanding Player
Summer Ellyson, Louisiana
Sunday, May 12
NCAA Division I Softball Championship Selection Show (ESPN2), 8 p.m.
Postseason National Invitation Softball Championship Selection Announcement, TBA
Thursday-Saturday, May 16-18
Friday-Sunday, May 17-19
All Times Central and Subject to Change
About the Sun Belt Conference
Entering the second decade of the new millennium, the Sun Belt Conference continues to challenge itself, and its competitors, in all aspects of intercollegiate athletics. Not content with being simply the youngest football conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the conference has shown that it can rise each and every season that comes along. And since the birth of the league as an FBS member in 2001, the evidence is clear that the conference is indeed rising above competitors and peer conferences.
Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy give the league 10 football members. Little Rock and UTA compete as Sun Belt members in sports other than football.
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