UL — With the Sun Belt Conference tournament rapidly approaching, the...Last Post By: NewsCopy Yesterday, 04:27 am
TOURNAMENT ACTION CONTINUES AT LAMSON
Louisiana is back at Lamson Park a second straight weekend for tournament softball. The Mardi Gras Classic presented by Hilton Lafayette, which runs Friday-Sunday, Feb. 13-15, is the second of three tournaments at Lamson Park to start the 2015 season. Idaho State and Mississippi Valley State join the Cajuns for the weekend event._ _
A SIZZLING START
Louisiana hit .396, had five players with at least five hits and outscored opponents in last weekend's Louisiana Classics 40-0.
NOTHING IS FREE
As impressive as 22 innings of shutout softball was for Cajuns pitchers, even more was the control they displayed. Louisiana's hurlers surrendered only five walks during Louisiana Classics play and struck out 39.
Of the Cajuns freshmen debuting in the Louisiana Classics, redshirt freshman Aleah Craighton stood out. Craighton hit .583 and proved she is adding power to an already potent lineup, after cranking two doubles and two home runs.
WALLACE IN COMMAND
Senior pitcher Jordan Wallace stole the show in the season opener vs. NC State. Her complete game, two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts conjured memories of her dominant sophomore campaign of 2013.
SAME FACES, NEW PLACES
Haley Hayden, last season's center fielder, debuted at second base in the Louisiana Classics. She fielded cleanly in eight chances (2 PO, 6 A). Shellie Landry, as expected, moved to left field. That returned Landry to the position she starred at as a freshman.
DEPTH IN THE CIRCLE ON DISPLAY
Louisiana's depth in the pitching circle will be on display in the season's opening weekends. Though released to pitch following shoulder ailments, seniors Christina Hamilton and Jordan Wallace will work on a pitch count. Sophomore Alex Stewart and freshman Kylee Jo Trahan will aid in logging innings. It's an excellent opportunity for the coaching staff to begin to develop the pitchers who will patrol the circle following the departure of Hamilton and Wallace.
STEWART SETTLES IN
Sophomore Alex Stewart logged six innings over two starts in the Louisiana Classics allowing only one base hit and striking out 11 batters. She retired the side in order in five of the six innings pitched.
Louisiana closes out its season-opening, 14-game homestand Friday-Sunday, Feb. 20-22 with the Ragin' Cajuns Invitational. The Ragin' Cajuns are set to face Iowa, Hofstra, Missouri State and McNeese State.
• A record number season tickets were sold in advance of the 2015 season - and the number continues to grow. Currently 823 season tickets - the third straight season with 600-plus sold - have been purchased, passing the previous mark of 636 in 2013.
•_Following a four-game sweep of the La. Classics, the Cajuns rose to No. 7 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll and No. 8 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll (ranked preseason No. 9 in both).
•_Head coach Michael Lotief collected career win No. 600 in the Louisiana Classics finale vs. Eastern Illinois (2/8/15). His career marks stands at 600-147-1 (.803).
•_Louisiana used four pitchers in the Louisiana Classics. Jordan Wallace, Alex Stewart and Kylee Jo Trahan each started. Christina Hamilton, a 29-game winner in 2014, debuted in relief Saturday vs. Central Arkansas.
•_Freshman Kelli Martinez showed she is capable of replacing Natalie Fernandez as the featured slap hitter in the lineup. Martinez, hitting ninth, turned the lineup over four times in the Louisiana Classics (4-for-10).
•_Haley Hayden picked up right where she left off in 2014. The sophomore slugger belted three home runs and posted seven RBI during Louisiana Classics play.
•_The Cajuns showcased the many options available when it comes to pinch running or hitting. A total of 20 different hitters/runners saw action in the Eastern Illinois contest last Saturday.
•_Louisiana returned 83 percent of its home run production (75-of-90) from 2014 headlined by Lexie Elkins' 24.
•_Lamson Park is in its 31st season of service (1985-present) to the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball program. The Cajuns all-time record in the facility is 691-102-1 (.871).