SAN MARCOS, Texas – Another fourth inning rally lifted No. 7 Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Softball to a win at the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Tournament, a 5-2 decision over Coastal Carolina which clinched a spot in the championship game.
Alissa Dalton was Friday’s hero as her two-out, two-run single pulled Louisiana (49-4) ahead to stay at 3-2. A solo home run from Sarah Hudek and run scored off a wild pitch by Keeli Milligan added insurance in the fifth inning.
Summer Ellyson made the rally stand as she went on to complete a string of six consecutive scoreless innings pitched after the Chanticleers (38-20) grabbed an early lead with a two-run home run in the first inning.
Louisiana extended its winning streak to 26 games, the second-longest streak in program history which is now two off the record 28 set in 2012. Ellyson posted her 36th win which moved her past Melissa Coronado (35 in 2001) and into sole possession of second place on the single-season record listing.
No. 7 Louisiana is set to compete for the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Ragin’ Cajuns will face the survivor of elimination games between Coastal Carolina, ULM and UT Arlington.
The game can be viewed on ESPN+, heard in the Acadiana region on ESPN 1420-AM and will be available worldwide on the ESPN 1420 app.
LEADING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Dalton’s two RBI pushed her season total to 40, marking the first time in her collegiate career she’s reached the mark. The base hit was her 60th sending her to the mark for the second straight season.
Julie Rawls’ leadoff walk in the fourth inning, her team-high tying second of the tournament, started the fourth inning rally. After Raina O’Neal reached on a fielder’s choice, Kourtney Gremillion laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners in scoring position for Dalton’s decisive hit.
Hudek’s home run was her team-leading 11th of the season and Louisiana’s first in the tournament.
Milligan stole a base each time she was aboard the base path, upping her season total to 59, and scored both times. She swiped third in the first inning and scored on O’Neal’s grounder, then in the fifth inning took advantage of an error after stealing second to later score on the wild pitch.
Ellyson settled in after Kassdy Smith’s home run in the initial frame, retiring 14 of the next 15 batters faced through the fifth inning. Of the eight strikeouts she recorded, the largest one registered the final out of the sixth inning after the Chanticleers had loaded the bases.
- Now at 49 wins, Louisiana is on the verge of the program’s first 50-win season since 2012 (went 53-6). It would mark the 12th 50-win season overall in program history.
- Louisiana advanced to the Sun Belt Tournament championship game for the sixth straight year and 18th time in the 20-year history of the event.
- The Ragin’ Cajuns improved the all-time record in the SBC Tournament to 60-9.
- Friday’s game marked the first meeting with Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt’s postseason event.
- Keeli Milligan moved within one stolen base of becoming the first Ragin’ Cajun to reach 60.
- Now with 59 stolen bases, Keeli Milligan is four shy of the current national leader Jaquelyn Ramon of Southeastern Louisiana. With SLU’s season complete, Milligan has an opportunity to overtake Ramon as the postseason continues.
- Summer Ellyson’s 36 wins are the most recorded by a Ragin’ Cajuns pitcher since Brooke Mitchell posted the program-record 45 in 2004.
- Alissa Dalton is the third Ragin’ Cajun to reach the 40-RBI mark, joining Julie Rawls (49) and Lexie Comeaux (42).
- The pair of two-out RBI collected by Alissa Dalton in the fourth inning increased her production in the situation to 21 RBI. It’s the second-best effort, trailing only 22 two-out RBI by Julie Rawls.
- On the solo home run in the fifth inning, Sarah Hudek reached base for the 17th consecutive game – the longest streak by a Ragin’ Cajun this season.
- Summer Ellyson increased her season strikeouts total to 317, stretching her career-best output. It’s the fourth-most recorded in a season in program history, placing her in company with Brooke Mitchell (542 and 342), Jordan Wallace (382) and Ashley Brignac (327).
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