Feb 28, 2014 11:47 PM by UL Sports Information
GULFPORT, Miss. - Christina Hamilton's season-best 14 strikeouts and Shelbi Redfearn's home run exploits headlined a Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball sweep on the opening day of the Inaugural Gulf Coast Softball Classic here Friday at the Gulfport (Miss.) Sportsplex.
In the day's opener, the Ragin' Cajuns tallied runs in each of the first four innings and Hamilton handcuffed UTSA with 14 strikeouts as Louisiana defeated the Roadrunners 6-2.
Redfearn cranked out two home runs and posted seven RBI as the Ragin' Cajuns built a sizable lead and fended off a rally by No. 12 Baylor for an 11-10 victory in the nightcap. Jordan Wallace posted a called third strike with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the triumph.
No. 24 Louisiana (11-5-1) continues play in the Gulf Coast Softball Classic on Saturday, March 1 with contests against Chattanooga at 2:30 p.m., and Ohio at 5:30 p.m. at the Gulfport (Miss.) Sportsplex. Live stats are available at RaginCajuns.com and Steve Peloquin calls the action on SportsRadio ESPN 1420-AM.
Louisiana vs. UTSA
Hamilton retired UTSA in order - the final two by strikeouts - to set the tone in the first inning. Redfearn provided early run support with an RBI triple that plated Lexie Elkins who reached on a two-out walk issued by Roadrunners starter Kacy Freeze.
Sara Corbello's leadoff home run in the bottom half of the second inning made it 2-0 in Louisiana's favor. UTSA drew even at 2-all with a two-out, two-run single from Jori Fox in the top of the third.
Louisiana reclaimed the lead on a Shellie Landry RBI single in the bottom half of the frame. A pinch hit RBI double down the right field line from Linzey Cifreo that came with two outs stretched the lead to 4-2. Hamilton kept UTSA from answering. A leadoff triple opened the fourth inning, but the Cajuns righty retired three straight hitters - the final two by strikeout - to strand Victoria Birdwell 60 feet from home.
A two-run blast over the left center field wall from Haley Hayden came in the Cajuns second at bat of their half of the fourth inning to complete the scoring and give Hamilton plenty of cushion for the final three innings.
In the sixth inning, Hamilton staved off the Roadrunners final push as she fanned pinch hitter Randee Crawford with the bases loaded for the final out.
Hamilton struck out the first two UTSA hitters in the seventh inning to finish with her season-best 14. The Rosepine HS product finished two off her career-high 16 strikeouts recorded Feb. 25, 2011 vs. Southern.
Hayden's home run marked her team-leading eighth. Corbello recorded her first multiple-hit game of the season finishing 3-for-3 including her sixth home run of the campaign.
Louisiana vs. Baylor
Redfearn went to work quick in leading Louisiana to an early lead they wouldn't relinquish against No. 12 Baylor. In her first plate appearance she made Whitney Canion's back-to-back, one-out walks prove costly as she lofted a home run over the right field wall for a 3-0 lead.
Single runs in the first and third inning allowed Baylor to trim the Cajuns lead to 3-2 - the closest the Bears would be until the game's final pitch.
The first three Cajuns reached base in the top of the fourth setting the stage for Redfearn's biggest hit of the evening. After a bases-loaded walk - Canion's ninth of the game - made it 4-2, Redfearn walked into a bases re-loaded situation and greeted reliever Liz Paul with a grand slam raising the Louisiana advantage to 8-2.
A Cifreo sacrifice fly capped off the six-run, fourth frame for the Cajuns. Baylor countered with four runs in the bottom half, the key hit being a two-run double from Ari Hawkins that got the Bears back into the contest at 9-6.
A Corbello solo home run and Bears error produced two runs for Louisiana in the sixth, but the Bears clawed back once more plating three runs following a bases-loaded situation bringing the Cajuns lead to 11-9 into the final frame.
Jordan Wallace, re-entered after being replaced following three innings of work at the onset, recovered from a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch that brought Baylor within 11-10 by collecting consecutive strikeouts to close out the game. Wallace caught Justine Young staring at called strike three on a full count to conclude the action packed matchup.
Redfearn collected her team-leading sixth multiple-hit contest and concluded the day with three home runs and eight RBI. Her seven RBI marked the highest tally by a Cajun in 2014 and lifted her season total to 18, moving her three behind Hayden for the team lead.