BATON ROUGE The University of Louisiana softball team made it to its eighth straight NCAA Tournament because of its bats. Friday evening, the Ragin' Cajuns took an NCAA first-round win because of its arms ... specifically, the Ashleys' arms.

UL pitcher Ashley Kirchberg struck out 11 North Carolina State batters in a nifty two-hitter, but the single biggest throw of the day was Ashley Evans' strike from right field that gunned down Wolfpack runner Lisa Nentwig at the plate to end the fifth inning.

Kirchberg's 114 throws and Evans' one toss combined in a 2-0 victory that propelled the 15th-ranked Cajuns into today's winners' bracket final of the NCAA Regional Softball Tournament at LSU's Tiger Park.

The third-seeded Cajuns (49-10) will face top-seeded and host LSU in a highly-anticipated matchup at 1 p.m. today. The Tigers took a 5-0 win over Princeton in Friday's other first-round game.


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Dan McDonald