Mar 31, 2014 12:32 AM by UL Sports Information
LAFAYETTE, La. - Samantha Walsh tied the game twice, first with a solo home run in the fourth and later with a two-run single in the sixth, to spark the Ragin' Cajuns offense and help the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns to an 8-3 win over Texas State and a three-game series sweep of the Bobcats on Sunday at Lamson Park.
The Cajuns (25-6-1, 6-0 SBC), improved their season-high win streak to 10 games and 17 of the last 18 games, picking up their second-straight Sun Belt Conference sweep.
"Over the last few days she's really been able to do some good things," head coach Michael Lotief said of Walsh. "She's gaining more confidence as she goes and she is getting opportunities and finding ways to step up."
Junior pitcher Jordan Wallace picked up her 11th win of the season, coming in relief of Christina Hamilton, tossing 2.2 no-hit innings, shutting down the Bobcats, while striking out four.
Hamilton threw the first 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and fanning six batters.
Walsh found her stroke offensively this weekend, saving her best for today, going 2-for-3 with three RBI and one run scored. She hit her second home run of the weekend in the fourth inning and came up with the bases loaded in the sixth and poked an RBI single over third base, scoring two runs.
The Cajuns found themselves in an early hole, when Texas State scored a run in the second inning to take a 1-0 lead on a bases-loaded walk from Hamilton.
Walsh tied the game fourth when she hit her third home run of the season and second of the weekend to center field.
The Bobcats responded immediately with a pair of runs in the fifth on a two-run home run from Courtney Harris. That was followed up by a single, spelling the end of the day for Hamilton.
Wallace came in and struck out the first batter she faced in a strike out-throw out double play, catching the pinch runner attempting to take second.
The Cajuns couldn't get anything started in the fifth inning with a 1-2-3 inning, but got the bats going in the bottom of the sixth with their seven-run inning.
A single from Natalie Fernandez, a walk from Lexie Elkins and an infield single from Kendall Smith, who came in the game for Kelsey Vincent in the fifth, loaded the bases for the Cajuns with Walsh at the plate. Walsh went with the first pitch she saw and blooped it over third base to score Fernandez easily and pinch runner Meagan Thomas never stopped from second, beating the throw home, tying the game at three.
"We put Smith in because she can put the ball on the ground and run," Lotief said. "We wanted to save [Gabby Felps] for later in the game. To me [Smith's] at bat was huge. It was huge because of the situation and because she has had limited opportunities, which is good for her."
Shelbi Redfearn was the next Louisiana batter up and before she could even take the bat of her shoulder, the Cajuns took the lead with Smith scoring from third base on a wild pitch.
Redfearn wouldn't let her at-bat pass without fireworks, however, sending her ninth home run over the right field fence to give the Cajuns a 6-3 lead, scoring Walsh.
The Cajuns added two more runs in the inning, first on a double from Felps and second on Natalie Fernandez's second single of the inning, making it 8-3, before Jordan Wallace closed out the game in the seventh to pick up the win.
Louisiana will take to the road to continue Sun Belt action, as they travel to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on Western Kentucky on April 5-6. The Cajuns and Lady Toppers will play a doubleheader on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m., and a single game on Sunday at Noon.